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Iranian FM Salehi may face impeachment over controversial appointment

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

A number of Iranian lawmakers have signed a motion to impeach Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, the Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

The MPs have cited the appointment of Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as deputy foreign minister for administrative and financial affairs as the reason to impeach Salehi.

Malekzadeh, who held a position at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (ICHTHO), was appointed to the post on Saturday, replacing Hossein Farahi.

Malekzadeh has also served as the secretary general of the High Council of Iranian Affairs Abroad, run by Presidential Office Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii, who has been strongly criticized for his controversial remarks on a number of occasions.

According to the latest reports 25 lawmakers have signed the impeachment petition so far, and more MPs are to sign it.

The motion will probably be submitted to the Majlis Presiding Board on Tuesday, one of the MPs told the Fars News Agency on Sunday.

Part of the impeachment proposal read, "The appointment of Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh... as deputy foreign minister for administrative and financial affairs, will jeopardize foreign interests of the establishment due to his not very good background."

"Although the minister has the authority to appoint his deputy, he does not have the right to appoint a deputy, most of whose former colleagues have been arrested, and himself is on the verge of being arrested on a number of financial charges and some other charges," the MPs wrote.

However, a number of lawmakers who have begun the process of impeaching the foreign minister reportedly plan to visit President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to brief him on the repercussions of Salehi's decision.

One of the MPs, who was not named in the news report, confirmed the report and said if Ahmadinejad does not agree to remove Malekzadeh from the post of deputy foreign minister, lawmakers will be compelled to tell the president, "If Malekzadeh retains his post at the Foreign Ministry, that will definitely result in Salehi's impeachment."


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