Your Middle East
Last updated: 3 February, 2013

Defiant Ahmadinejad plays controversial tape, as parliament dismisses his minister

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who was at the parliament on Sunday to defend his labor minister against lawmakers’ impeachment, played a controversial recorded tape, accusing the parliament speaker Ali Larijani of abusing power.

Ultimately, the defiant president failed to convince the lawmakers, with 192 MPs voting in favor of Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami’s dismissal. The petition faced little opposition – only 56 parliamentarians were against it and 24 others abstained, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

MPs had previously threatened to impeach the minister if former Tehran Attorney General Saeed Mortazavi, who is accused of involvement in the abuse and killings of post-election protesters in 2009 is not removed from his post as Social Security Organization chief.

Despite a recent court ruling calling for the removal of Mortazavi, the former prosecutor has stayed in office through the support of the president.

Standing before the parliament President Ahmadinejad played the recorded voice, which he said was 25 minutes of a 23-24 hour conversation between Fazel Larijani and Mortazavi.

Ahmadinejad added that members of the Majlis (parliament) chairmanship panel had asked him not to publish the tape, which he said would be distributed among the MPs. However, the parliament speaker, brother of Fazel Larijani, told Ahmadinejad to play the tape.

President Ahmadinejad stopped the tape after a while, as the recorded voice was not clear. He claimed that Fazel Larijani had held a meeting with Mortazavi, asking him to be introduced to a businessman that wanted to purchase some companies owned by the social security organization.

Ahmadinejad said Fazel Larijani figuratively told Mortazavi, if the businessman brought him in, he could solve any business–related problems due to the influence his brothers have.

His brother, Sadegh Larijani is the head of Iran’s judiciary and Ali Larijani is the parliament speaker. When the president ended his speech, the speaker responded by saying that the claims are only allegations.

“I have had meetings with Davoud Ahmadinejad – brother of the president – in which he has talked of links to hypocrites, corruption, relations with the outside and such topics. Is it good for me to film this meeting and publish it?” parliament speaker Larijani said. “Offer the subjects you issued in this session to the court to be handled. Do I defend anyone? I even say the infractions committed by the closest person to me should be handled but the problem is that you don’t allow (yours) to be examined.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei warned in October 2012 that using people’s emotions in the course of disputes up to the polling day is accounted as treason.