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


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 56 sec ago
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.