Majlis to impeach roads, labor ministers over aviation, marine mishaps

Financial Tribune- Two ministers will be summoned to parliament next week to attend an impeachment session called over their failure to address a string of issues, including aviation safety that received a setback after a recent plane crash in central Iran.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi and Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei will be impeached next Tuesday or Wednesday, Akbar Ranjbarzadeh, a member of the Majlis Presiding Board, told Fars News Agency on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the receipt of the impeachment motions, both signed by 24 lawmakers, was confirmed during a session of parliament, which has the power to sack ministers, IRNA reported.

Under the Constitution, lawmakers can impeach a minister when they deem it necessary. An impeachment motion can be submitted when it has at least ten signatures.

The minister must appear in parliament within 10 days after the submission of the motion to answer questions raised by legislators, give explanation about his or her performance and seek a vote of confidence.

The main reasons cited for impeaching the roads minister include weakness in dealing with issues facing the transport system, inadequate supervision over the air and train fleet that has led to the death of a large number of passengers, failure to implement the proposed plans to revamp the public transport system and lack of accountability to the public.

***Aging Fleet

Iran has suffered several plane crashes in recent decades, and Tehran blames US sanctions for preventing it from importing new aircraft or spare parts.

An ATR-72 plane operated by Aseman Airlines crashed into a mountaintop in central Iran two weeks ago, killing all 66 passengers and crew on board.

Iran’s rail network has also aged badly under economic sanctions, making it difficult to modernize rolling stock, and safety standards suffered.

In November 2016, at least 36 people were killed and dozens injured when two Iranian passenger trains collided near the city of Shahroud, about 400 km east of the capital Tehran.

Nuclear-related sanctions were lifted after Iran reached a deal with world powers in 2015 to limit its nuclear activity.

Signatories to the impeachment motion against Rabiei say he could no longer be trusted as labor minister because of his incompetence in managing the organizations affiliated with the ministry, including Aseman Airlines and the Social Security Investment Company, the growing debts at the associated institutions, and failure to help provide better public services.