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Iran halts president’s grilling by Parliament

TEHRAN: Iran’s Parliament has scrapped plans to summon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over country’s economic woes following an intervention by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ISNA news agency said yesterday.
The decision was announced after Khamenei was quoted on his website as saying, “I ask lawmakers not to pursue” the planned questioning.
Khamenei has the final word over all state matters in the country.
A petition submitted by 77 MPs in the 290-seat Parliament on Nov. 4 required Ahmadinejad to appear before lawmakers within a month to explain his “government’s procrastination in managing” Iran’s sanctions-hit economy.
The move was put in motion after the national currency, the rial, lost more than two-thirds of its value in a 20-day span starting in late September.
Shortly after Khamenei’s remarks were published, Parliament abandoned the planned grilling, ISNA reported.
“By adhering to the supreme leader, we announce that we will not pursue the task,” it quoted lawmaker Evaz Heidarpour as saying on behalf of the 77 MPs behind the move.
Khamenei meanwhile praised the conservative-dominated Parliament for initiating the plan, saying “it showed a sense of responsibility in the assembly and a readiness by government officials to answer” questions on Iran’s economic woes.
Iran’s economy is struggling to cope with the gradual tightening of sanctions by the United States and the European Union over the past two years.
The sanctions have targeted Iran’s vital oil exports and revenues as well as its access to the global banking system, slowing its economy, accelerating inflation and boosting the ranks of the jobless.

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