Rouhani: ‘Our people have lost faith in Iran’s future’

President Hassan Rouhani arrives at the Iranian Parliament in the capital Tehran, on August 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Rouhani: ‘Our people have lost faith in Iran’s future’

  • Rouhani spoke out in Parliament in defense of his economic record, blaming the country’s woes on the US sanctions rather than his team’s management
  • Iran’s rulers have been divided between a pragmatic faction that aims for better international relations, and hard-liners who are wary of reforms

JEDDAH: Iran’s Parliament subjected President Hassan Rouhani to a live public grilling on Tuesday over the country’s collapsing economy — then rejected his answers and referred him to the judiciary.
Rouhani blamed US sanctions rather than government incompetence for Iran’s economic debacle. But he admitted: “Many people have lost their faith in the future of the Islamic Republic and are in doubt about its power.”
MPs had demanded explanations for soaring unemployment, slow economic growth, the plunging value of the rial, cross-border smuggling, and the lack of access by banks to global financial services.
In a vote, they found only Rouhani’s answer about banks satisfactory. The judiciary could rule that he broke the law and Parliament has the power to dismiss him.
The vote in Parliament came two days after MPs fired Finance Minister Masoud Karbasian and three weeks after they dismissed Labor Minister Ali Rabiei. At least 70 MPs have also signed a motion to fire Industry Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari.
“The Parliament’s move is politically motivated and indicates that tensions will increase in the Islamic Republic in coming months,” said Saeed Laylaz, an Iranian economist.

Saudi adviser: Sanctions unlikely to stop Iran exports completely

The US reimposed sanctions in August targeting Iran’s gold trade, motor industry and access to US dollars. Worse will come in November when the US aims to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The plunge in the currency and soaring inflation have sparked street demonstrations against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters demanding regime change.
In a further blow to the president, European support for the 2015 nuclear deal after US withdrawal and the reimposition of sanctions appeared to be crumbling.
France, which has been leading efforts to defy US sanctions and salvage trade ties with Tehran, banned its diplomats from non-essential travel to Iran. Among the reasons given for the ban was a foiled Iranian plot in June to bomb a rally near Paris held by an exiled opposition group.
“The behavior of the Iranian authorities suggests a hardening of their position vis-a-vis our country, as well as some of our allies,” French Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Maurice Gourdault-Montagne said in a memo to staff.

Detailed coverage: Parliament censures Rouhani in sign pragmatists losing sway


Putin and Erdogan in Turkey to mark key phase in pipeline

Updated 29 min 39 sec ago
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Putin and Erdogan in Turkey to mark key phase in pipeline

  • The two leaders are marking the completion of the offshore part of TurkStream’s two lines
  • Turkey relies on imports for its energy needs and Russia is its top supplier for natural gas

ISTANBUL: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are in Istanbul to mark the completion of a key phase in a natural gas pipeline.
The two leaders on Monday are marking the completion of the offshore part of TurkStream’s two lines that will carry natural gas from Russia to Turkey.
The lines when finished are expected to supply Russian gas to European markets through Turkish territories. Together the two 930-kilometer (578-mile) lines via the Black Sea will carry 31.5 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas annually.
Turkey relies on imports for its energy needs and Russia is its top supplier for natural gas. It bought 28 billion cubic meters last year. That gas is currently transported through another line under the Black Sea and the onshore West Line through Ukraine, which is mired in conflict with Russia.