Iran speaker tells lawmakers to watch tongues in cabinet debate

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told lawmakers to cool their rhetoric and respect the assembly’s etiquette, after two days of often heated debate over President Hassan Rohani’s cabinet nominees.

In a private meeting with members of parliament before today’s third day of hearings on the new cabinet, Larijani asked them to avoid finger-pointing or repeatedly invoking Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while making their case, according to state-run Fars and Mehr news agencies. He also reminded lawmakers that the debate on the nominees is broadcast live.

Iran’s President Hasan Rohani has drawn criticism for picking too many people with Western education or links to the anti-government protests that were violently suppressed in 2009. Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Rohani has drawn criticism for picking too many people with Western education or links to the anti-government protests that were violently suppressed in 2009. The president, who replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and was inaugurated last week, won election after promising to repair Iran’s international relations, hurt by disputes over its nuclear program, and revive the economy.

Rohani has said he ignored the nominees’ political affiliations, choosing them for their abilities and experience. Several served under former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose support helped him to win the election.

Arguments erupted at yesterday’s sitting after a lawmaker denounced the proposed health minister, Hassan Ghazizadh Hashemi, and accused others of only endorsing him because he’s rich. “If he was a poor minister-designate you wouldn’t have backed him,” Nader Ghazipour told the assembly, according to Mehr. “You’re backing him for his money.”

The comment sparked heated reactions, with some lawmakers rushing to the podium and shouting, while others tried to calm them. Ghazipour was only allowed to resume his speech after being asked by fellow lawmakers and the deputy speaker, who was conducting the session, to apologize.

“I regret that such programs are aired live on television so that they can damage the parliament’s dignity,” lawmaker Hossein-Ali Shahriari was quoted as saying by Mehr.

Parliament is due to vote on the cabinet tomorrow.

By Bloomberg

 

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