Iranian President tangles with parliament over impeachment of minister

Iran Materials 3 November 2008 00:04 (UTC +04:00)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has tangled with the parliament over impeachment of his interior minister, Fars news agency reported Sunday.

The parliament is to vote Tuesday on impeaching Interior Minister Ali Kordan for having presented the lawmakers with a faked honorary doctorate from Oxford University.

"The parliament has every right to impeach ministers but in this case I do not agree with the impeachment and will therefore no go to the session (Tuesday), either, because they (MPs) would just raise repetitious claims again," Fars quoted the president as saying.

Observers believe that the parliament would either ask Kordan to resign or dismiss him as presentation of false documents, especially in government service, is a crime punishable by a imprisonment in Iran, dpa reports.

Kordan himself said that he would respect any decision taken by the parliament but not resign voluntarily.

In a letter to Ahmadinejad last month, Kordan admitted that the certificate from the prestigious British university which he presented to parliament was a fake but claimed that he was victim of a swindle by a man who allegedly posed as a representative of the university in Tehran.

The Kordan case had led to differences and even disputes among deputies in parliament.

While the pro-Ahmadinejad wing considers an impeachment as weakening the government, signatories of the impeachment motion say irrespective of whether he had been deceived or was dishonest, Kordan could no longer hold the post of interior minister - a post directly in charge of next year's presidential elections.

Last Wednesday the differences led to a scandal after the government's representative at the parliament, Mohammad Abbasi, was caught while he was trying to use a governmental financial aid as a mean to push deputies to drop the impeachment motion.

After Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani declared Abbasi as persona non grata in the parliament, Ahmadinejad was forced to dismiss his legislative representative.

The power conflict between government and parliament is regarded by observers to be also a conflict between Ahmadinejad and Larijani.

Larijani used to be a close aide of the president and acted as his chief nuclear negotiator but resigned in October 2007 due to grave differences with Ahmadinejad how to handle the nuclear dispute.

Larijani made a political comeback however in last March's parliamentary elections and was elected as speaker and head of the neo-conservative faction which is critical of Ahmadinejad's policies.