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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora