The Anti-Ahmadinejad movement that started with last year’s Iraqi elections is still alive and well. Iran’s parliament is trying to impeach the Iranian presidential nut job, but they were stopped by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exposing a deepening division within the regime.
Lawmakers also launched a new petition to bring a debate on the president’s impeachment, conservative newspapers reported Monday.
The reports of challenges to Mr. Ahmadinejad were intended as retorts to a powerful body of clerics that urged Mr. Khamenei to curb the parliament’s authority and give greater clout to the president.
In a report released Sunday and discussed in parliament Monday, four prominent lawmakers laid out the most extensive public criticism of Mr. Ahmadinejad to date.
The charges filed against Ahmadinejad include:
- Withdrawing $590 million from the Central Bank’s foreign reserve fund without approval.
- Trading 76.5 million barrels of crude oil in exchange for gasoline imports in 2008 without approval.
- Illegally importing gasoline, oil and natural gas at a value of about $9 billion since 2007.
- Failing to provide transparency in budget spending and curbing parliamentary oversight.
- Failing to provide transparency about the source of money for the president’s domestic travels and about the allocation of money in Iran’s provinces.
- Failing to implement or notify ministries about 31 legislative items passed by the parliament in 2010.
This move comes as some of the economic sanctions seem to be causing a hardship for the Iranian people. As sanctions bite, the regime is now forced to raise prices on basic staples. As the regime is well aware, the most potent challenge to Iran’s ruling system may be as simple as a shopping list.
Iranians – both rich and poor – have long benefited from blanket subsidies on natural gas, electricity, petrol, water and many staple foods. As sanctions target Iran’s limited refining capabilities, Iran was recently forced to import refined fuel, despite owning one of the world’s biggest oil reserves. As a result most drivers expect a rise of 400% in gasoline prices creating immense pressure at petrol stations across the country.
In the food department, bread prices are up more than fivefold, cooking oil more than double, cuts of lamb about triple from last year.
Price supports have long buoyed Iranians, with average households receiving $4,000 worth of fuel and electricity payments a year. Taking these benefits away can shake up the regime’s stronghold significantly.
But what may bring the Anti-Ahmadinejad forces to a head is the administration’s plan to gradually eliminate subsidies for fuel, food and utilities from an economy strained by a string of international sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
Authorities have tightened security and arrested members of the opposition to prevent riots and uprisings in response to the subsidy cuts, which economists say will drive up inflation.
In opposition to the conservative lawmakers are Iran’s ultraconservatives—led by Mr. Khamenei, who has final say in all state matters—who have increasingly backed the president when he carries out policy without parliamentary approval.
….Conservative newspapers reported on Monday that lawmakers have started a motion to collect the 74 signatures needed to openly debate impeachment. Mousa Reza Servati, the head of the parliament’s budgetary committee, was quoted as saying 40 lawmakers, including Mr. Servati, have signed the motion.
Whether this attempt to oust Ahmadinejad works or not, two things are clear the United States is not going to help and the effort for Iranian freedom will continue.