Iran's Expediency Council is accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of "undermining the system and instigating Iran's enemies both within and outside the country." The statement is part of the council's response to Ahmadinejad's official letter of complaint, which attacked the council's chair and the heads of the legislative and judicial branches of the government.
The Expediency Council maintained that it has always been "lenient in the
supervision of government actions in accordance with the Supreme Leader's
recommendations" and that it has always adhered to the articles of the
constitution. The Expediency Council said no government institution can override
its authority, according to the Guardian Council.
The Expediency Council statement says its chairman, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, will refrain from any personal attempt to defend himself against Ahmadinejad's accusations, out of concern for the integrity of the system. Following the Council's recommendations, the Chairman has decided to respond through a legal letter prepared by the Council.
Ahmadinejad sent the contentious letter two weeks ago, complaining to the Members of the Parliament that Ayatollah Rafsanjani was using his position to interfere in the affairs of the government. He accused two other top officials of helping him to undermine the administration: Ali Larijani, the parliamentary speaker, and Sadegh Larijani, head of the judiciary.
These disputes arise from parliament's attempt to limit the president's power to appoint the head of the Central Bank. Under parliament's plan, the president would have merely recommended a candidate, with parliament having the final say. When the Guardian Council rejected parliament's proposal, the MPs appealed to the Expediency Council to get the bill approved.
Accusations are flowing both ways: Ahmadinejad says the parliament is interfering in government affairs; the parliament says Ahmadinejad's administration is trying to circumvent parliament in its role as government supervisor.
The Expediency Council is comprised of Islamic Republic experts appointed by the Supreme Leader to a five-year term. The current term expires next year.
Ahmadinejad says Minister's impeachment "illegal"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says it was "illegal" for parliament to impeach his minister of transportation, Hamid Behbahani, and he will soon reveal the details to the people.
"Usually during Fajr celebrations [the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian
Revolution] even government critics refrain from criticism and thank those who
are at the service of the people day and night," Iranian media quotes
Ahmadinejad as saying. "But this year the MPs gave us a present on the first day
of the celebrations by taking away the best minister of our cabinet."
The criticisms brought against the transport minister are more applicable to the impeachers, said Ahmedinejad. He added that the ministry of transportation will be merged with a different ministry, so he will not appoint a new minister.
Behbahani was dismissed as minister of transportation on February 1 after being blamed for numerous fatal plane crashes, unprofessional public statements about transportation accidents, mismanagement of ministry resources and the high death toll from road accidents. Parliament voted 147- 78 with nine abstaining. The minister was absent from the vote, and Ahmadinejad failed to attend the impeachment.
One day before the impeachment, Ahmadinejad's representative in parliament had presented a letter to the speaker, Ali Larijani, maintaining that 13 MPs had withdrawn their names from the impeachment order, rendering it invalid. Regardless, Larijani proceeded with the impeachment. Ahmadinejad insists, however, that the parliament has breached regulations.
Iranian MP says Ahmadinejad to blame for dismissal of minister
Conservative MP Ali Motahari today said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself is to blame for parliament's recent dismissal of the president's trusted transport minister. Ever since Hamid Behbahani's ouster on February 1, parliament and the president have been sniping back and forth over the issue.
Motahari said Behbahani's fate was sealed when he failed to attend his own impeachment hearing, forcing parliament to follow through with the dismissal. Parliament was holding Bebahani responsible for numerous fatal plane crashes in the country and mismanagement of Ministry resources.
"If Mr. Bebahani had appeared in parliament and responded to the criticisms, his dismissal would not have been approved by the MPs and he would still be minister," Motahari said. However, Ahmadinejad's office previously announced that the president and his minister did not attend the session because it was "illegal." Their reasoning was that several MPs had withdrawn their names from the impeachment order, rendering it invalid.
In today's response, Motahari said there were never fewer than 10 signatures on the order; therefore, the parliament's actions were fully legal.
Despite Behbahani's dismissal as minister, Ahmadinejad announced today that he has been retained as a presidential adviser on transportation matters. This follows yesterday's announcement no new transportation minister would be appointed, because that ministry will be merged with another.
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