Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has saved Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s neck by preventing the Majlis (parliament) from questioning the beleaguered president over his handling of the country’s sanctions-wracked economy and plunging currency.
According to the IRNA news agency Khamenei cited that such an interrogation would only play into the hands of Iran’s enemies.
“We demand that the respected representatives not continue” with the summons, Khamenei’s order declared.
“The country needs tranquility. Authorities also need it to carry out their tasks. People also like peace.”
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani accepted Khamenei’s directive, potentially removing, at least temporarily, a possible impeachment of Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad, who was questioned by MPs in March, has lost much favor among parliament; however, Khamenei’s intervention on the president’s behalf came as something of a surprise given their own fractured relationship.
Nonetheless, western sanctions on Iran’s oil sector over the country’s nuclear program has hurt the economy by spiking inflation and pushing down the value of the rial currency.
Ahmadinejad’s term expires next August, however Khamenei exercises ultimate authority in Iran.
A BBC correspondent, Sebastian Usher, commented: “As a lame-duck president who cannot stand again for a third term, [Ahmadinejad]] may be more useful as a scapegoat for growing public frustration with the failing economy -- damaged by international sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear programme and government mismanagement.