Publishe Date: 7:48 PM - 6/29/2014 | Print

Behind the scene of impeachment

Politics - The Majlis is gearing up to impeach three ministers before MPs go on their two-week summer recess.

The targets include Science Minister Reza Faraji Dana, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, and Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati. Lawmakers have apparently presented the impeachment motions for Faraji Dana and Chitchian to the Majlis Presiding Board and seek to rally support for grilling Hojjati. However, it seems that the Presiding Board has delayed setting the process of impeachment in motion.

Monday edition of the English-language newspaper Iran Daily wrote that the deputies have so far dragged almost all ministers to the legislature for grilling over their performance and threatened a number of them with impeachment. The threats are now about to be materialized.

But the question is: Why are these lawmakers so determined to impeach the ministers who have been in office for less than a year? What serious flaws in the performance of the three ministers have prompted the MPs to prepare the ground for their impeachment?

A simple comparison between the performance of the incumbent government and its predecessor indicates that almost none of the previous ministers was summoned by the Majlis for impeachment despite countless and undeniable mistakes.

The science ministry underwent sweeping shake-up during the tenure of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But the major reshuffle sparked no criticism from the MPs as those appointed to the posts were from their own league. The legislators never spoke out against gross mismanagement at the ministry and summary and widespread dismissal of lecturers from universities elicited no reaction from the MPs. Even the scandal of granting scholarships to certain people with links to the then government and the security situation imposed on the campus seemed to be unimportant for the legislators to come out in protest.

But now that the atmosphere of universities is calm, competent people have been appointed to academic posts and lecturers and students are satisfied with the positive trend, the lawmakers are set to put the science minister in hot water of impeachment.

The substantial debts that the Energy Ministry owed to its contractors and a large number of incomplete projects during the previous government met with no opposition from the Majlis. However now that these issues have been settled by allocating adequate funds, the energy minister is subject to impeachment.

Lackluster performance by agriculture ministers under the previous president turned Iran, which had become self-sufficient in wheat, into the worldˈs biggest importer of wheat. It was the time when indiscriminate import of fruit, vegetables and other products such as tea and rice inflicted heavy losses on the agriculture sector but none of them sparked reactions from the lawmakers. But now that the current minister is determined to address the issues, he is likely to be summoned for impeachment.

Lawmakersˈ resolve to impeach the trio could be interpreted as a political revenge through which they want to settle the score with the government.

Another question that flashes to mind is: What benefits will such impeachments have on the people?

No one has yet forgotten that Ahmadinejad rose to power under the slogans of bringing prosperity, administering justice, and distributing petrodollars among all Iranians. But the slogans were never materialized despite an unprecedented oil income of $700 billion in a period of eight years and the purchasing power of the people declining day by day and their food basket shrinking more than ever. But now that the government is determined to improve the situation, it is repeatedly targeted by the Majlis.

The impeachment motions are introduced at a time when the decade-old dispute over Iranˈs nuclear energy program is about to be resolved through negotiations with six world powers. They also coincide with President Hassan Rouhaniˈs emphasis on the need to change governors installed by the previous government.

These are indications that the political opponents of the government seek to challenge it by using impeachment as a leverage. Such a political game proves that governmentˈs critics do not care about national interest and are merely after their own benefits—a game that might cost them their reputation among the public.
 

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