Iranian MPs who sought to impeach the Minister of Labour have cancelled their motion, now that Saeed Mortazavi has announced that he will resign as the head of the Social Security Fund.
Mortazavi’s controversial appointment was at the heart of the impeachment initiative, and Iranian media report that it was cancelled after days of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Parliament, the administration and Mortazavi.
Today, the first item on Parliament’s agenda was supposed to be the impeachment of the Minister of Labour, but Parliament announced that the 18 signatories have now withdrawn their signatures and the motion is cancelled.
Mortazavi is the former Tehran Prosecutor who was removed from the judiciary after the scandal broke about the torture and death of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Centre. Parliament’s investigations found that Mortazavi was the prime suspect in the complaint filed by families of the victims from the notorious detention centre.
At least three detainees were killed under torture at Kahrizak and many more were severely abused.
Following his removal from the judiciary, Mortazavi, a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was swiftly placed at the helm of the task force to fight smuggling, and most recently he was appointed to head the Social Security Fund.
That appointment was challenged by Parliament, and a motion was filed to impeach the Minister of Labour for his choice. Labour Minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami said, however, that Mortazavi had been the express choice of President Ahmadinejad.
The cancellation of the impeachment came after Gholamali Haddad Adel, a member of Parliament’s presiding board, announced that Mortazavi had assured him that he will resign from the Labour Ministry. Haddad Adel then proceeded to urge the signatories to the impeachment motion to withdraw their support.
Ahmad Tavakoli, who had helped initiate the motion, announced that he had adjudicated between the signatories and Mortazavi, and that Mortazavi had given his solemn oath that he will resign from the Social Security Fund.
Some MPs, however, have challenged the move, saying Mortazavi’s resignation is not valid until it has been officially processed.
Mostafa Kavakebian, who represents Semnan in Parliament, said: “Minutes ago, the MPs received a text message from the parliamentary advisor to the president, saying that the administration is in no way committed to Mortazavi’s resignation.”
Others have challenged the cancellation because it is based merely on a promise.
In response, Alireza Zakani, one of the MPs who has withdrawn his signature, said that in a meeting with the signatories, Mortazavi had written the text of his resignation letter in the presence of MPs and sent copies to the Minister of Labour and the President.