Less than 10 months after more than 200 Iranian lawmakers asked Ebrahim Raisi to run for president, many of them now want to impeach four of his ministers.
Mohammad Hosseini, Raisi's aide for parliamentary affairs on Wednesday reassured reformist daily Sharq that there is a good interaction between the President and the parliament. However, according to several media outlets in Iran the shadow of impeachment is now looming over the heads of at least four of Raisi's ministers: Labor Minister Hojjat Abdolmaleki, Industry Minister Reza Fatemi Amin, Health Minister Bahram Einollahi and Economy Minister Ehsan Khanduzi.
Although Khanduzi's impeachmenthas been postponed under pressure from Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf), and the Majles presidium is reportedly refusing to acknowledge the receipt of impeachment motions signed by lawmakers, Etemad Online website appeared to be certain that the lawmakers are adamant to impeach at least one of the four ministers. Their motivation is predominantly concern for their credibilitybefore potential voters in the next parliamentary election in 2024.
According to the website, deputy chairman of the Majles Mining and Industry Committee Javad Hosseini Kia has said: "rising prices, lack of government control over the markets, the chaos in the stock market, rising interests on bank loans, declining value of the national currency and the lack of a roadmap to control liquidity are among the reasons why the lawmakers wish to impeach the cabinet ministers particularly those responsible for the state of the economy."
Up to 50 lawmakers had signed the motion to impeach the economy minister and the number of MPs who signed the letters demanding the impeachment of other ministers was reportedly far more than the required 10 signatures. This comes while before the Raisi administration took office, conservative pundits believed that a hardliner government working with a hardliner parliament was the right combination to consolidate power and to avoid bickering between the two bodies.
Some key hardliners still try to support Raisi. Hossein Ali Hajideligani, a member of the Majles presidium, said the ministers have been in office for around six months and this is not enough for a true assessment of their performance. Another Lawmaker, Jabbar Kouchaki of the Planning and Budget Committee has said that lawmakers are so disappointed by the labor minister that they believe he should be immediately fired.
According to Sharq, despite the ban by Ghalibaf on the economy minister's impeachment, lawmakers continue garnering support against him, and they will once again table the impeachment once around 70 MPs sign the motion against him. Some of the MPs told Sharq that Abdolmaleki is likely to be impeached sometime in late February or early March.
In the meantime, Fatemeh Mohammadbeigi, a lawmaker from Ghazvin has also called for the impeachment of Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi whose choice of several military commanders as local governors for the provinces has become controversial.
In another development, Vali Esmaili, a member of the parliament's hardline majority also mentioned illegal appointments by some of the ministers and said: "Although the lawmakers share their political affiliation with the members of the administration, yet we have not given blank checks to anyone. We will certainly use our supervisory powers as members of parliament if we see that the ministers' approach to addressing the people's demands is not satisfactory."