Iran’s parliament to question president over economic woes
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s parliament announced Wednesday it would hold a special session to question President Hassan Rouhani about the plummeting currency and struggling economy.
In the announcement on the parliament’s website, lawmakers said Rouhani must appear within a month in an open session to answer questions, but no specific date was announced.
The rial has slipped since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal in May and said it would restore sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Iran curbing its atomic activities. The first of those renewed sanctions go into effect Monday.
Iran is negotiating with other world powers that are parties to the deal — China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain as well as the European Union — in a bid to salvage it with new incentives.
Lawmakers plan to separately question Labor Minister Ali Rabiei over the 12.5 percent unemployment rate. He already appeared before parliament in March, when they voted to keep him in office.
Pressure is building on Rouhani as Iran’s economic woes mount. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered Rouhani, the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary to work together and find a way to resolve the problems.
On Tuesday, 200 of 290 members of parliament signed a letter to Rouhani urging him to make changes to his economic team.
Rouhani’s administration has already replaced the central bank governor and taken other measures to shore up the currency, which hit a new low this week.
Meanwhile, some hard-liners have called for new elections or for Rouhani’s civilian government to be replaced by a military-led one.
The Fars news agency, believed to be close to Iran’s hard-line elite Revolutionary Guard, in July distributed an op-ed from the Sobh-e No daily newspaper describing the government as too ready to “bow down to foreign threats.”