Iranian MPs head for showdown with President


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The Independent Online

Iran's parliament is set to summon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning over an economic scandal and his polices after the required number of MPs signed a petition yesterday, the latest salvo in a long battle between the President and his rivals.

Mr Ahmadinejad would be the first president to be hauled before the Iranian parliament, a serious blow to his standing in a conflict involving the President, MPs and clerics. At least 73 MPs signed the petition to question Mr Ahmadinejad, just above one-quarter of the 290 members required by Iran's constitution to call in a President. Earlier, the parliament found Mr Ahmadinejad's Economics Minister guilty in relation to a $2.6m fraud case, considered the largest in Iran's history.

The case involved the use of forged documents to obtain credit from at least two Iranian state banks to purchase state-owned companies.

Mr Ahmadinejad has come under increasing attacks in recent months from the same hardliners who brought him to power. Dozens of his political backers have been arrested or hounded out of the public eye by hard-line forces in recent months. His protégé and top aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, has been effectively blackballed from succeeding Mr Ahmadinejad in 2013 elections by a series of accusations.

The questioning, should it happen, would be a serious blow to Mr Ahmadinejad, who has already been weakened after he publicly challenged the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in April over the choice of Intelligence Minister. AP