Iran’s parliament dismisses labor minister

Updated 03 February 2013
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Iran’s parliament dismisses labor minister

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian lawmakers impeached the country’s labor minister on Sunday over his controversial appointment of an official implicated in the deaths of prisoners. The move highlights a power struggle between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his conservative rivals in parliament ahead of the June presidential elections.
Out of 272 present lawmakers in the parliament on Sunday, 192 voted against the labor minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami. The chamber has 290 seats.
The lawmakers are angry over the labor minister’s decision to appoint Saeed Mortazavi as head of Iran’s social security fund. A parliamentary probe in 2010 found that Mortazavi, then chief Tehran prosecutor, was responsible for the deaths of at least three anti-government protesters who were tortured.
In response, Ahmadinejad turned the tables on his conservative opponents and accused parliament speaker Ali Larijani and his relatives of misusing power. Ahmadinejad played a barely audible videotape showing Larijani’s brother, Fazel, in a meeting where he allegedly sought a bribe in return for ensuring the support of the speaker and another brother, Sadegh Amoli, who is chief of judiciary.
Larijani denied the charge saying he has no business relation with his brother. He accused Ahmadinejad of having a “Mafia-type” attitude and disregarding the country’s dignity, law and ethics. “It was a good thing that you showed this to let people to learn about you character,” he said.
The dispute was seen a way to damage Ahmadinejad ahead of presidential election in June. Under the law, Ahmadinejad cannot run for another term, but his opponents say he is trying to impose a hand-picked successor on them.
For the first time in the country’s history, the parliament grilled the president in March 2012 over the alleged mismanagement of the nation’s economy. They also questioned Ahmadinejad about his decision to dismiss an intelligence minister in May 2011 — a move seen as a defiance of the country’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The minister was reinstated later at Khamenei’s instruction.
Since then, many of Ahmadinejad’s former supporters have started backing his conservative opponents.


UAE, Bahrain support Pompeo’s list of demands for Iran

Updated 11 min 42 sec ago
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UAE, Bahrain support Pompeo’s list of demands for Iran

  • A senior UAE official says United States is taking the right approach on Iran
  • Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry also affirms full support for Washington's strategy toward Iran.

JEDDAH: The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, said on Monday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was taking the right approach on Iran.
Gargash wrote on his official Twitter account, several hours after a policy speech on Iran by Pompeo, that united efforts were the right way to show Iran the “futility of its incursions and expansionism.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry also affirmed full support for the United States’ strategy toward Iran.
“Pompeo’s [strategy] which reflects the determination to confront the danger of Iranian policies that undermine security and stability in the region and to overcome the shortcomings of the nuclear agreement. And praised the continued efforts of the United States to strengthen regional and international peace and security and its relentless efforts to take all possible measures to prevent the spread of chaos, tension and crisis resolution in the region,” a statement from Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry read.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms that the Kingdom of Bahrain considers itself in a single position with the United States of America in the face of the Iranian threat, addressing Iran’s attempts to export violence and terrorism and stressing the need for Iran to respond to all efforts to achieve peace and resolve conflicts in the region and to remove them from nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. The immediate cessation of support for terrorist militias and adherence to international laws and norms and non-interference at all in the internal affairs of the States of the region,” the statement added.
The statement comes after Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran and said relief from economic sanctions would only come when Washington had seen tangible shifts in Iran’s policies.