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Iran power struggle claims president's man

Date

Jason Rezaian

Ali Larijani ... the former Iranian Parliament Speaker (top) listens to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ali Larijani ... the former Iranian Parliament Speaker (top) listens to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: AFP

TEHRAN: Iran's parliament has voted to impeach the country's labour minister, the ninth minister from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet to be sacked during Mr Ahmadinejad's second term.

The proceedings represent an escalation in the long-standing power struggle between Mr Ahmadinejad and the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani.

In Sunday's vote, 192 of Iran's 272 MPs voted in favour of impeaching Labour Minister Abdul-Reza Sheikholeslami, accusing him of assigning Iran's former general prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, to be the head of the country's social security fund. Mr Mortazavi was suspended in August 2010 over the death in prison of three anti-government protesters after the 2009 presidential election.

There is wide speculation that Dr Larijani will make a second bid for the presidency when Mr Ahmadinejad completes his final term in June.

Mr Ahmadinejad accused Dr Larijani of overstepping his power and went on to describe a video in his possession which he said showed Dr Larijani's younger brother, Fazel, attempting to make illegal financial deals with Mr Mortazavi.

Dr Larijani responded, saying: ''The difference between you and I is that you have gathered people around yourself who have charges against them in court and you insist on keeping them and giving them positions, … I say if any one of my relatives has a legal problem we must investigate it even if the person is my brother.''

❏ The former head of Iran's central bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri, has been found in possession of a cheque worth €54 million ($A71.2 million) by German authorities, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reports. The German customs office is investigating.

Washington Post, Agence France-Presse

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