Iran’s MPs have threatened the impeachment of Economy Minister Massoud Karbasian (pictured) as the country’s economic crisis worsens.
About 90 legislators signed a motion for the impeachment. Ahmad Alirezabeigi, a representative from Tabriz, said:
The President and the Foreign Minister are personally responsible for the current economic situation. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had previously promised that problems in Iran’s economy would be solved within six months.
Hosseinali Hajideligani, a member of Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee echoed that the Rouhani Government’s economic team “is responsible for Iran’s economic problems”.
In the latest sign of the crisis, with ongoing demonstrations including nationwide protests in January and June, the Iranian currency dropped another 20% in the past week. The rial is now at 95,000:1 vs. the US dollar, half its value — – which was already at a historic low — at the start of the year.
On Tuesday, MPs tabled another motion for an investigation into the Government’s allocation of foreign currencies to some companies at a lower rate.
The step was taken in May to shield importers of essential goods, such as food and medicines, from the higher prices caused by the rial’s devaluation.
But Iranian media say dozens of companies, linked to officials, have spent the foreign currencies on luxury items such as cars. Others sold their currency at the open-market rate, making profits of up to 200%.
The MPs say the corruption has affected the allocation of $12.5 billion by the Government.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on Sunday that five Industry Ministry officials have been arrested on charges of “coordinated corruption” and the mishandling of funds to import thousands of luxury cars.
Ejei said other suspects, mainly cell phone importers, have also been detained.