Iraqi parliament sacks local governor after Mosul boat capsizing

Iraqi rescue team members are seen at the site where an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul, Iraq March 22, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 24 March 2019
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Iraqi parliament sacks local governor after Mosul boat capsizing

  • Iraqi law gives the federal Parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister

BAGHDAD: Iraq's parliament voted on Sunday to sack the governor of Nineveh after an overloaded ferry capsized, killing at least 90 people, in the provincial capital Mosul, state media said.
The boat was carrying families heading to an outing on an island in the Tigris River on Thursday when it sank. Many of the women and children on board could not swim.
Daesh militants were driven from Mosul nearly two years ago, but relief has given way to impatience over alleged corruption as reconstruction of the destroyed city has stalled.
Scores of protesters swarmed Iraq's president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. The crowd threw stones and shoes at Governor Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan's car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Saturday formally asked parliament to remove Sultan. Iraqi law gives the federal parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister.
Parliament also voted to sack Sultan's two deputies, in line with Abdul Mahdi's request. The governor can appeal the decision at court. He has not commented on the vote yet.
Abdul Mahdi's letter to parliament accused Sultan of negligence, dereliction of duty, and said there was evidence he was misusing public funds and abusing power.
Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.