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Iran’s president will not be questioned

DUBAI — Iran’s parliament called off plans to grill President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said they must not act in the interests of Iran’s enemies.

Ahmadinejad’s opponents in the 290-seat assembly dominated by conservatives wanted to question him about an economic crisis that they blame as much on his mismanagement as on Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Economic woes have forced up prices of goods, diminished the value of the Iranian currency and exacerbated divisions within Iran’s factionalised political system.

“Up to this point, the plan to question the president has been positive because of the sense of responsibility of parliament and the readiness of government officials,” said Khamenei, the 73-year-old cleric who holds ultimate power.

“But if this issue goes any further, it will be what the enemies want and so I ask the honourable representatives not to continue with it,” the Mehr news agency reported him saying.

Seventy-seven lawmakers had backed the plan to grill Ahmadinejad and questions were expected to focus on the currency fluctuations and what they said was the mistaken allocation of limited government-subsidised dollars, including for the import of thousands of foreign cars.

A spokesman for the group, Avaz Heydarpour, confirmed that the summons had been withdrawn following Khamenei’s request, Mehr reported.

Once the favoured presidential candidate of Iran’s hardliners who backed his re-election over reformists at a disputed 2009 election, Ahmadinejad has fallen from favour within the deeply factionalised conservative ranks that rule the Islamic Republic. (Reuters)

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