Iran economy minister impeached | News | DW | 26.08.2018
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Iran economy minister impeached

Iran's parliament has removed Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian in the latest blow to a government struggling with a deepening economic crisis. The move follows new US sanctions and a sharp fall in the value of the rial.

Iran's economy minister, Masoud Karbasian, was impeached by the country's parliament on Sunday, becoming the second minister in President Hassan Rouhani's Cabinet to be fired.

The country's already weakened economy has been further damaged by the reimposition of sanctions by US President Donald Trump, which has caused the local currency to plunge.

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What happened in parliament?

  • Karbasian lost a confidence vote by 137 votes to 121, with two abstentions.
  • He had been ordered to parliament to explain his ministry's poor handling of the economic crisis.
  • His critics said he had failed to do enough to shore up the economy ahead of restored US sanctions.
  • They said the government had squandered the opportunities presented by the 2015 nuclear deal, which had seen longstanding economic penalties withdrawn.

Read more: US forms action group to increase pressure on Iran

Anger at 'disorganized government'

One conservative MP, Abbas Payizadeh, said in a speech ahead of the impeachment vote: "Inefficiency and lack of planning have nothing to do with sanctions. Wrong decisions have harmed the people and led to individuals looting public assets."

Rouhani faces renewed pressure: Hard-liners in Iran's parliament have blamed the crisis on Rouhani, a relative moderate, who was re-elected last year. As the rial's value has weakened, prices have soared, and many Iranians have lost their life savings. Meanwhile, the nuclear deal, which was signed by six world powers, is unlikely to hold now that Washington has withdrawn.

Read more: Iranians hope for Europe's support as US sanctions bite

Other Iranian leaders replaced: Earlier in August, Iranian lawmakers voted out the labor minister, while last month President Hassan Rouhani replaced the head of the central bank.

Protests quashed but public anger remains: Protests linked to the tough economic situation in the country began last December, spreading to more than 80 cities and towns and resulting in 25 deaths. Sporadic protests, led by truck drivers, farmers and merchants in Tehran's bazaar, have continued regularly since then and have occasionally resulted in violent confrontations with security forces.

Read more: Iran protests signal simmering anti-government anger

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mm/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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