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Key Lawmakers In Iran Begin To Corner Rouhani, Threatening To Question Him

Ali Nikzad a person close to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other hardliners. Undated
Ali Nikzad a person close to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other hardliners. Undated

Nine committees of the Iranian parliament (Majles) have called on President Hassan Rouhani to change his administration's policies and improve its effectiveness before it is too late.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, a member of the Majles presidium and a member of parliament's economic committee warned Rouhani to announce a practical plan to solve the problem of the rising cost of living or lawmakers will summon him to the Majles for questioning.

Some of the new lawmakers belonging to hardliner groups and many close to the Revolutionary Guard had said during their election campaigns that they would question or impeach Rouhani for his administration's failures. A few even threatened that they will take Rouhani to court. However, some analysts doubt if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would allow this.

The criticism directed by the newly elected hardliner parliament comes after their rivals in the “reformist camp” were disqualified to run.

The attacks against Rouhani by hardliners intensified after the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and the country’s economic situation deteriorated. As many people in repeated protests have blamed the foreign policy of the country, dictated by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as a reason for economic hardship, hardliners have been trying to pin all the blame on Rouhani.

The call for a change in Rouhani's approach to management and government was made while Rouhani has less than one year before the next presidential elections and around 14 months before leaving the presidential palace at Sa'dabad in Tehran.

Describing Iran's current situation as "painful," the letter that was published on the official website of the Majles on Friday June 26, says Rouhani "should change the way he has been managing the affairs of the state during the first seven years of his presidency to alleviate the nation's financial problems and to stabilize the markets."

The heads of the Majles committees reminded Rouhani that he has sworn "to guard and implement a constitutional provision that calls for decent housing and employment for every individual in the nation." They also reminded Rouhani of the "gap between national objectives and what Rouhani has been able to do" during the past seven years.

Some key members of parliament asked Rouhani "to look in the face of children who are searching the garbage for food, and those who are working at a fragile age" when he is on his way to the office.

They asked Rouhani whether he was aware that some Iranian citizens who cannot make ends meet have to work three shifts a day.

"Are you aware of foodstuff prices?" the lawmakers asked, adding if Rouhani is aware of how the food basket of a worker, an office clerk and a teacher is less than the minimum basket for survival.

They also reminded Rouhani that parts of his administration obstruct the activities of entrepreneurs and industrialists while the officials simply regret what is happening rather than trying to reform the organizations they are managing.

Meanwhile, the heads of the Majles committees accused individuals around Rouhani of lethargy and lack of motivation, adding that this spirit has led the nation to believe that the government has left them alone.

The chairmen of Majles committees further criticized Rouhani for finding about events and catastrophes too late and responding with just a smile. They said this behaviour was "unacceptable."

They further reminded Rouhani that the current Majles is revolutionary in nature and warned Rouhani that lawmakers will not remain silent when people's rights are compromised.

The move by hardliners to hijack the issue of economic hardships, trying to portray themselves as defenders of impoverished citizens, they have turned a blind eye to lethal force used against ordinary Iranians who came out last November to protest corruption and poverty.

Quite a few Iranian analysts have pointed out that Rouhani used to pretend to be on the people's side, when he needed their votes. After his second election as president in 2017, he no longer needs votes and sees his future in appointed positions rather than elected ones. So, he pretended to be a revolutionary in order to appease Khamenei. What he did not expect, was a new parliament full of self-proclaimed young revolutionaries he cannot compete with.