Iran MPs demand Rouhani replace his economic team

Iran MPs demand Rouhani replace his economic team
2 min read
27 June, 2018
187 lawmakers wrote to President Hassan Rouhani demanding urgent action to bring 'dynamism' to the Iranian economy as the rial continues to slide.
Hassan Rouhani at an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Istanbul [Getty]
Nearly two-thirds of Iran's MPs have written to President Hassan Rouhani demanding he replace his economic team amid the country's increasing economic woes. 

"The poor performance of senior officials in charge of the economy over the past few years has led to the population's increased distrust," wrote 187 of the Iranian parliament's 290 lawmakers, in a letter published by IRNA news agency.

The letter comes two days after protesters gathered outside parliament in Tehran. 

In their letter, MPs urged Rouhani to immediately enact changes that bring "dynamism" and an "understanding" of the economic situation before parliament "takes a decision on the matter".  

The government's economic team is made up of vice-presidents and ministers, as well as Rouhani's economic advisers and the central bank president.

Lawmakers have the power to dismiss ministers or to declare, through a two-thirds majority vote, the "incapacity" of the president, paving the way for his possible dismissal by Iran's supreme leader.

Rouhani has been under increasing pressure over the country's finances, with the value of Iran's rial plunging almost 50 percent in the past six months.

The situation has worsened since President Donald Trump pulled the US out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers last month, announcing further sanctions against Tehran.

Iranians have also been hit by rising prices, while record levels of unemployment have left a third of under 30-year-olds out of work.

Rouhani was re-elected in May 2017 on the promise of boosting Iran's economy by opening up to the West. Ultra-conservatives, long opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, have  accused him of damaging the economy.

This week's protests against rapidly deteriorating economic conditions are the first such confrontation between demonstrators and police since similar unrest rocked the country late last year.

In December, demonstrations took place in more than 80 Iranian cities and towns, the largest protests in nearly a decade. At least 25 people died and nearly 5,000 people were arrested by authorities. 

December's protests also took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to resign.

On Wednesday, Khamenei demanded the judiciary punish those "who disrupt economic security". 

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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