MP says Ahmadinejad’s firing of Minister reminds him of behaviour of Shah Reza Pahlavi

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Javan, close the Revolutionary Guards, carries the comments of Deputy Majles Speaker, Mohammadreza Bahonar, who has speculated that another vote of confidence might be required for the approval of President Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet, given the numerous personnel changes which have taken place in recent months: “one of our old issues with the 9th and 10th governments is the bringing, leaving and removing [of Ministers] and of course we do not comprehend the reason for this action either”, said Bahonar, also a persistent Ahmadinejad critic.

The most recent and controversial sacking has been that of Dr. Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi as Minister of Health, a move which has been criticized by a number of MPs.

Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Baqeri, an MP of the Clerical Faction of the Majles, has been particularly forceful in his remarks, claiming Ahmadinejad’s actions are reminiscent of Shah Reza Pahlavi’s [referred to simply by his pre-coronation name, Reza Khan], the first king of the Pahlavi dynasty and a figure universally despised by the politically active clergy for his secularizing and anti-clerical policies, such as banning the traditional veil and his disdainful treatment of the clerical establishment once he had established a firm grip on power.

Baqeri also alluded to Ahmadinejad’s and Vice President, Mohammadreza Rahimi’s statements offering high praise for the former Health Minister, stating, “after these slogans, what happened?”.

The Chairman of the Majles’ Social Commission, Abdolreza Azizi, has also weighed in calling the firing of the Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi “political” in nature.

“The removal and appointment of Cabinet Ministers are included in the rights of a president, but it was not prudent in these circumstances and the decision was adopted without any satisfying justification”.

The Conservative Friday Prayer Leader of Mashhad, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamhoda, has told Fars News that Green Movement opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Karroubi, shouldn’t be associated with the so-called “seditionists”, who Principalists often claim sought the regime’s overthrow in the course of the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Alamhoda stated, “not Karroubi and not Mir Hossein Mousavi, neither one [supported] the tearing of the Imam’s picture [i.e. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] and they were not even suggesting this act”.

Alamhoda said a distinction should be drawn between the individuals and movements of “arrogance” and “executive agents of sedition”, warning “foreign agents” against interference in Iran’s internal affairs.

As a BBC Persian article notes, it is interesting to observe that in recent weeks, criticisms of Mousavi and Karroubi have patently softened, and attempts by a number of Conservative figures, such as Ali Motahhari, Habibollah Asgarowladi etc… have been made to separate Khomeini’s one-time Prime Minister, Mousavi, and former Majles Speaker, Karroubi, from the much disparaged “agents of sedition and world arrogance”. This mellowing of hostility is all the more conspicuous when one returns to the winter of 2010, when MPs fulminated in harmony, calling  for Mousavi and Karroubi’s execution.

Dissident and imprisoned Reformist politician, Abolfazl Ghadyani has suggested that the 9th of Dey, (30 December 2009) the day on which state supporters came out in support of the regime and which the state has continuously dubbed as the day on which the “sedition” or Green Movement was decisively quashed, should be renamed, “the day of wretched religious despotism”.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani, on Thursday evening while speaking at the 13th of Aban Cultural Institute, which formerly housed the U.S. embassy, stated that “the authorities cannot hide behind sanctions”.

In reply to a question pertaining to the 2nd phase of targeted sanctions reform Larijani stated, “the Majles has a bill in the current year for the prevention of the implementation of the second phase of targeted sanctions…Of course in the formulation and implementation of this plan the government was of the same view. Now if they say something else in this regard, we do not know. We had a session and in the session they said “we accept that the second phase shouldn’t be implemented”. But afterwards they come and say that the Majles in this regard has bound our hands”.

Larijani added, “it is certain that the country instead of the implementation of these types of plans, needs economic stability…Now one of the country’s issues are the important economic struggles. Also one part of the problem relates to sanctions and another is due to problems with managing the country. Until we accept and believe this matter we cannot reform and solve the problems”.

Pictures of Basij paramilitary force’s self-defence gathering at Shahid Keshvari gymnasium.