Brawl breaks out in Iranian parliament after economic and finance minister is sacked

Scuffles sparked during vote on whether to impeach Masoud Karbasian as currency continues to tank

Colin Drury
Sunday 26 August 2018 18:37
comments

Scuffles broke out in the Iranian parliament after the country’s economic and finance minister was sacked.

Supporters and opponents of Masoud Karbasian clashed as they debated possible impeachment of the embattled lawmaker on Sunday, the European Pressphoto Agency reported.

He was removed from office after a narrow parliamentary vote of 137 to 121, leading to the frayed tempers.

“Wrong decisions have harmed the people and led to individuals looting public assets,” one member of parliament said during the heated debate.

Iran’s economy is severely struggling with its currency – the rial – losing half its value since April and unemployment remaining high.

Things look set to get worse too. The US reimposed some sanctions in early August after the US president, Donald Trump, pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Now, a second set of sanctions, targeting the country’s oil industry, is due to take effect in November.

Major General Ali Jafari, head the Revolutionary Guards, has accused Washington of waging “psychological war” on his country.

Mr Karbasian’s sacking was the latest in a continuing shakeup designed to kickstart the economy.

Earlier this month the minister of labour Ali Rabiei was also relieved of his responsibilities, while, in July, the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, replaced the head of the central bank.

Protests linked to the tough economic situation in the country have become increasingly common since December, and have spread to more than 80 cities and towns and resulted in 25 deaths.

The demonstrations – often led by truck drivers, farmers and merchants – have occasionally resulted in violent confrontations with Iran’s security forces.

Major General Jafari said on Sunday that the country was facing a “unique, complicated and sensitive situation”.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments