Majles Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said this on Wednesday, August 19 following a constitutional warning issued by Jabbar Kouchaki Nejad, a lawmaker for Rasht in the Majles.
Kouchaki Nejad had asked Qalibaf earlier during Wednesday's session why President Rouhani had not acknowledged the receipt of a motion by the members of the parliament to question him.
Qalibaf said "around 200 members of the parliament" have called for questioning President Rouhani about his key economic and foreign relations policies. The Majles has 290 members.
According to Qalibaf, the president has already acknowledged the receipt of the motion and will refer it to the relevant committee.
The questions President Rouhani has to answer at the Majles are about "the devaluation of the national currency, the chaos in the housing and car markets, rising inflation, policies about compensating damages made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the way the Rouhani administration has been treating the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)."
In July, Ali Rabiei, the spokesperson for the Rouhani administration, told the administration-owned newspaper, Iran, that "questioning the President at the Majles will make the situation further complicated and bring it close to a worrying political conflict.”
Rabiei suggested that the lawmakers question the cabinet ministers rather than questioning President Rouhani himself,
In July, the Majles was preparing to discuss a motion to impeach President Rouhani, but the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei tried to strike a balance between the hardliner Majles and the more moderately conservative president in a July 12 speech.
"I strongly believe that governments should carry on doing their job until the last day of their term of office,” Khamenei said, and further advised that the Rouhani administration "should not slow down its momentum by any means."
Khamenei pointed out that "a confrontational atmosphere in the leadership of the government institutions will do harm to public opinion." He advised that "as the administration is spending its last year in office while the Majles has just started its first year, the legislative and executive branches should avoid damaging behavior."
However, Khamenei added that "questioning the president is another thing." This was the phrase that gave Majles the go-ahead to proceed with the questioning.
During the campaigns before the February 2020 Majles election, some of the candidates vowed to impeach President Rouhani for the failure of the JCPOA and his economic policies, with others promising to take the president to court.
Nonetheless, analysts insisted that Khamenei would not allow such a thing to happen, as he has always supported former presidents until their last day in office despite occasional criticisms of their performance.
President Rouhani, who allegedly was planning on resigning as the new Parliament started its work in late May, reversed course following the supportive remarks by Khamenei, confirming that he would "remain in office until the last moment in spite of all the controversies."
During the past two months, several members of the Parliament have accused the Rouhani administration of "mismanagement and incompetence" particularly in the area of the economy.
With hardliners in charge of the Parliament and the Judiciary, Iranian analysts predicted last year that President Rouhani would have a tough year during his last year in office as Iran's president.