Iranian Parliament to Challenge President’s Oil Role in Court

Posted June 1st, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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Iran's parliament says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acted illegally when he declared himself the caretaker oil minister and the assembly has voted to take him to court.

Iranian media reports said Wednesday that lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to refer the president's “violations” to the judiciary.

The country's constitutional watchdog body has already ruled that Mr. Ahmadinejad's takeover of the oil ministry was illegal.

The Guardian Council announced its decision in late May, after the president cut the number of government ministries — firing oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi in the process.

President Ahmadinejad then merged Mirkazemi's responsibilities into an energy ministry and took the job himself.

The apparent power struggle between the Iranian president and parliament comes on the heels of an incident that may have strained relations between Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In April, the president dismissed Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi, but the supreme leader vetoed the dismissal, in an apparent slap to Mr. Ahmadinejad.