Tehran, Oct 21, IRNA -- Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Sunday
reiterated President Mohammad Khatami's constitutional authority
which has led to a rare exchange of notices between the executive
and judiciary heads.
"The president has a special place in the constitution," he said
at an open session of the parliament, adding the Iranian constitution
has tasked the president to guard it.
Karroubi's statements come following a controversy over the
constitutional rights of the president, which came to the spotlight
after Khatami protested to the courts' prosecution of MPs, saying the
practice contravened a political immunity which the Iranian
Constitution has provided for the deputies.
The notice prompted Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi
Shahroudi to respond, calling Khatami's letter "a surprise."
"Since judges, according to the Constitution and ordinary laws as well
as the jurisprudential principles, are independent in their
interpretation of the law and issuing verdicts, nobody -- not even the
judiciary chief -- has the right to impose its interpretation of the
law on judges," Ayatollah Shahroudi said in part of his letter to
Karroubi said that the Iranian president, "as the second highest
authority of the country" after the supreme Leader, has the right to
supervise the proper execution of laws.
"No matter who is the president, whether Mohammad Khatami or
someone else, he should act according to his constitutional duty,"
President Khatami had protested Tehran courts' rulings on MPs from
central Hamedan province Hossein Loqmanian, and from Tehran Fatemeh
Haqiqatjou, saying deputies should not be arrested or put on trial for
Haqiqatjou was sentenced to 22 months in jail in August after she
made allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners by court and
Her colleague Loqmanian has been sentenced to 13 months in jail
for slandering the judiciary. A third, Issa Mousavinejad, has been
given one year in prison for his role in public unrest in western Iran
last year. All three are still free pending appeals.
Constitution, only channel to settle disputes: daily
Tehran, Oct 21, IRNA -- `Tehran Times' on Sunday stressed that the
Constitution is the only channel to settle disputes and differences
that arise among the three branches of the government, over the powers
of the president, the legal immunity of Majlis representatives and
their responsibility to supervise the enforcement of the laws.
The English-language daily was referring to the first round of
disputes that was launched after the Judiciary took legal action
against some MPs, which prompted an exchange of letters between
President Khatami and Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi.
However, although these differences and disputes are quite
normal in any political system, the Constitutions of all political
systems nevertheless offer solutions to settle such bickering and
misunderstandings, asserted the daily.
However, it decried the efforts of some political factions in the
country to "circumvent the Constitution and propose solutions to such
disputes that do not fall within the framework of the Constitution."
Regarding the prosecution of some MPs that gave rise to such
differences, the daily noted that "each of the three government
branches refer to some articles of the Constitution to support their
For example, it said, "Articles 84 and 86 of the Constitution" is
usually referred to, while proving the legal immunity of the Majlis
However, the paper added, most legal experts do not consider the
immunity of the representatives to be absolute, as they refer to
"Articles 19 and 20 of the Constitution," which stipulates that all
citizens have equal rights.
Nevertheless, the main point of difference is whether the
representatives could make any comments they like and still enjoy
legal immunity, pondered the article.
In other words, the question is, "can a Majlis deputy insult,
slander and accuse individuals, officials or government organs
within the framework of their duties as representatives of people?"
asked the daily.
The only way to find an answer to the above question as well as
their similar questions is to refer to the Constitution itself,
suggested the paper.
According to Article 98, "expounding the Constitution is the task
of the Guardian Council, and any interpretation of the law should be
approved by three-fourths of its members," noted the daily.
In this light, it is only the Guardian Council's verdict that
can easily put an end to the disputes on the extent of immunity of
Majlis deputies, asserted the daily.
Furthermore, it noted, paragraphs 7 and 8 of Article 110 of the
Constitution clearly states, "if the disputes between the three
branches of government cannot be solved through legal means, it falls
within the powers of the Leader to settle these disputes through the
Expediency Council," rejecting the suggestions of some political
circles to hold a referendum on the issue.
Considering that the Constitution has offered clear solutions to
such issues, "the suggestion only indicates that some circles are
reluctant to comply with the law," warned the daily.
But, the rule of law cannot be established in society, "unless all
factions and political circles, regardless of their leanings and
affiliations, respect and abide by the law," concluded the paper.
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