News

    Iran's Ahmadinejad Defends Record in Parliament Query

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad answers questions in an open session in parliament in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad answers questions in an open session in parliament in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has shrugged off criticism of his record in office during an interrogation by lawmakers who accuse him of economic mismanagement and defying Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    The Iranian parliament's questioning of Mr. Ahmadinejad on Wednesday marked the first time that lawmakers had summoned an Iranian president to testify about his policies. Iran's state radio broadcast the hearing live.

    Conservative critics of Mr. Ahmadinejad have been emboldened since making big gains in parliamentary elections earlier this month. The results will leave the president, also a conservative, with an even smaller minority of supporters when the assembly is reconstituted in May.

    A prominent parliamentary critic of the president, lawmaker Ali Motahari, began the session by reading from a list of 10 questions to Mr. Ahmadinejad.

    Motahari demanded explanations for Iran's high inflation rate, the government's failure to finance Tehran's metro rail network, and the president's refusal to appear at work for 11 days last year after the supreme leader overruled his firing of the Iranian intelligence minister.

    In an hour-long, sometimes flippant response, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran's rising inflation had "nothing to do" with his 2010 decision to scrap government subsidies of food and fuel prices.  He also explained his 11-day absence from work by saying friends had told him to relax at home.

    Mr. Ahmadinejad's conservative critics say he stayed off the job to protest the supreme leader's reinstatement of the intelligence chief, whom he had fired.  They say the incident is one of several in which the president has unacceptably challenged Ayatollah Khamenei's authority.

    Rasool Nafisi, a northern Virginia-based Mideast analyst, told VOA that the questions prepared by the lawmakers were not precise enough to challenge the president, enabling him to deflect or dismiss them easily.

    Mr. Ahmadinejad closed his remarks by mocking those questions, saying they were written by people who received a "master's degree by pushing a button" and declaring that he could have come up with better ones himself.

    Lawmakers critical of the president reacted angrily, telling Iranian media that his comments were evasive and insulting.  Some also called for parliament to impeach him.

    Nafisi said impeachment is "not going to happen" under current circumstances because it would require the "tacit approval" of Ayatollah Khamenei.  He said the supreme leader will not permit more political chaos in the country while he confronts the West in a dispute about the Iranian nuclear program.  Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of energy and medical projects, a charge Tehran denies.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices
    . Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin
    March 15, 2012 10:48 AM
    Iran all through its change of name from Persia, has been struggling to become relevant in the world and in its region. Worse for it, Saudi Arabia accuses it to be stooge of the Jews. Therefore to show that this is not, it falls headlong proposing extreme hatred for Zion. This rather than help it has drawn it deeper into the quagmire from which recovery is mission impossible. You may discover that Ahmadinejad, like Hitler, has Jewish blood in him.

    by: Godwin
    March 15, 2012 10:28 AM
    Ahmadinejad's most important defense should be Saudi Arabia's accusation that Iran's shia islam is of the Jews. Ahmadinejad should also explain or defend what he means by the term, nuke for peaceful use. I think the Khamenei's party wants to know why Iran with over 75m population controls just a handful of muslims while SA with just under 30m people boasts of majority. He should also explain why he has not known that his threat is SArabia all this while.

    by: Yasin
    March 15, 2012 3:54 AM
    Mr Ahmadinejad let me see. you should be patient to face what happened. you should make a compromise to supreme leader that make sure what's his reason to resign Intelligent minister. you should apologise to supreme leader and you must recognised that you have made mistake.

    by: mervin
    March 15, 2012 12:18 AM
    Bravo IRANIANS

    by: Golnaz
    March 14, 2012 8:36 AM
    Goes to show that in Iran no-one is accountable while they're in power. Khamenei, the Majlis, and Ahmadinejad deserve each other.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora