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29 Iranian lawmakers retract signatures to question president


17:04, October 25, 2011

TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-nine Iranian lawmakers have retracted their signatures from a motion calling for the country's president to be questioned by the Majlis (Parliament), local media reported on Monday.

Mohammad Dehghan, a member of the Majlis presiding board, said the deputy Majlis speaker earlier gave those who signed the above- mentioned bill one-week time to think twice and then decide on their motion to question the president, and that some lawmakers later withdrew their signatures, according to Mehr news agency.

In late June, a motion signed by 100 lawmakers was submitted to the Majlis presiding board calling for questing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, later 14 of whom retracted their signatures.

According to the Constitution, the president must appear in the parliament to answer lawmakers' questions when at least one fourth of all the 290 lawmakers sign a motion summoning him. Now the number of the signatures is short of the threshold.

Iranian lawmaker Ali Motahhari was reported to have sent his resignation to the presiding board about 10 days ago, to protest the inaction of the Majlis presiding board after receiving the motion to summon Ahmadinejad to the parliament.

Currently, there are some disputes between Iranian hardliner conservatives and Ahmadinejad over some domestic and international policies, appointment and removal of key political figures.

Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said Saturday the establishment of a parliamentary system for the election of president will help make the country's political structure more efficient.

Larijani's remarks came as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said one week earlier that in the future the country may stop the direct election of president by the people.

"In the present condition, under the political system of the country ... the president is directly elected by people, which is a good and effective method," Khamenei said, "however, if one day probably in far future, it is felt that the parliamentary system is better for the election of executive officials, there will be no problem to change the current structure."

Khamenei's remarks were seen by some analysts as a warning to the Iranian president. In the political system of the Islamic Republic, the supreme leader has the final say over critical domestic and international issues.

The rifts in the political circle of Iran surfaced from mid- April this year, when the president tried to fire Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi, who later was reinstated by Khamenei. Ahmadinejad then didn't attend cabinet meeting at least twice to show his anger.

Ahmadinejad was accused by some hardliners of trying to challenge Khamenei's power.

Economic situation is also a source of dissatisfaction with the government. High inflation has been a long-standing issue in Iran, with annual inflation rate between July 23 to Aug. 22 reaching 17. 3 percent, which is rarely seen in other countries.

Since last December, when the Iranian government decided to implement a plan to gradually remove governmental subsidies for many industries, Iranians have been struggling to pay their rising bills for gasoline, water, gas and electricity, although each of them could receive a monthly cash subsidy of about 40 U.S. dollars in compensation.

In addition, Iranian media recently reported that several Iranian banks were swindled out of nearly 2.6 billion U.S. dollars in more than two years by a holding company. This scam is said to be one of the biggest frauds in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Local media said Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim- Mashaei, and some other entourages were involved in the scam. But the president strongly denied this and called on the Judiciary to deal firmly with all people who have been involved in the fraud. The Iranian president also announced his government would start reforms in the banking system this year.


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