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Rouhani Referred to Judiciary after Failing to Appease Lawmakers

Rouhani Referred to Judiciary after Failing to Appease Lawmakers

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018 - 10:15
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the parliament. EPA photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani failed to convince parliament on Tuesday that his plans will pull the country out of an economic nosedive worsened by America's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal as most of the questions of lawmakers were referred to Iran's judiciary for further review.

While Rouhani warned that "painting a bleak picture of people's lives will lead to further darkness," lawmakers voted four separate times to say they were unconvinced of his answers about Iran's recession, its cratering currency, unemployment and smuggling.

"Certainly, we made and we have made mistakes," Rouhani acknowledged at one point in a speech before parliament.

In May, longtime deal skeptic President Donald Trump pulled the US from the nuclear accord and reimposed sanctions on Iran. That only fanned the flames burning through the country's economy from chronic unemployment, high inflation and drastic drops in its currency.

Those problems sparked nationwide protests in December and January across Iran.

Lawmakers already have fired Rouhani's labor and finance ministers this month amid the economic crisis.

But Rouhani said those protests only strengthened Trump's hand to pull out of the atomic accord.

"This lured Trump into saying that he will not remain in the deal," Rouhani said.

"I want to assure the Iranian nation that we will not allow the US plot against the Islamic Republic to succeed," Rouhani told parliament in a session that was broadcast live on state television.

"We will not let this bunch of anti-Iranians in the White House be able to plot against us."

Most foreign firms have abandoned investment projects in Iran, and the next phase of renewed US sanctions in November will hit the crucial oil sector.

The lawmakers asked Rouhani about the government's failure in tackling the rise of unemployment, slow economic growth, and the fall of the country's currency rial - as well as revenue-sapping cross-border smuggling operations.

Rouhani said his government had asked the Revolutionary Guards to help them in tackling the smuggling.

Lawmakers also asked why the government had not adopted reforms in the financial sector and foreign exchange market, and sought an explanation why, more than two years after the nuclear deal, Iranian banks still had only limited access to global financial services.

The parliament only found Rouhani's answer about the banking satisfactory and referred the rest to the judiciary.

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