Tension brewed in Iranian Parliament when the head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been summoned to appear before MPs within a month to explain his economic policies to counter the current crisis.
The Mehr news agency reports that when a number of MPs contested the announcement, saying it’s in direct opposition to the Supreme Leader’s recent warning, Ali Larijani stressed: “I officially announce that there have been no orders issued to Parliament concerning this issue and I have said this on many occasions.”
He added that Parliament has the authority to make independent decisions.
Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a stern warning to government officials to refrain from infighting, stressing that whoever “plays on the public’s sentiments will definitely be liable for treason.”
Many lawmakers regard todays summons by Parliament to be in breach of the leader’s call to avoid tensions in the lead-up to the election in June of 2013.
Mehr reports that the reading of the summons was met with turmoil among a group of conservative members of Parliament led by Gholamali Haddad Adel, who had tried to convince many MPs to take back their signatures from the motion to summon the president.
Finally, Mehdi Kouchakzadeh reportedly left the assembly, saying: “It is not necessary to order everything to a wise adult; we believe that the gist of the leader’s statements is that he is not inclined toward summoning the president at this time.”
The head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, dismissed the MPs’ opposition, saying his own interpretation of the leader’s statement is different.
The questions put to Ahmadinejad will reportedly focus on the steep fall in the value of the rial and the alleged allocation of government-subsidized dollars for allegedly unnecessary imports.
The opposition to Ahmadinejad’s summons had expressed concern that he will use the occasion to reveal secrets about the upper echelons of power.
Ahmadinejad has been at odds with Parliament for the past few years and appeared at another session in March, when he answered questions about his economic record and his allegiance to the supreme leader with a flippant tone.