Iran’s Parliament Dismisses Finance Minister

The Iranian parliament has expressed the distrust of Minister of Economic Affairs Karbassian because of the ongoing economic crisis. This also increases the pressure on President Hassan Rohani.

In the midst of the economic crisis, the Iranian parliament has deposed the Minister of Finance. Massud Karbassian lost a confidence vote on Sunday, which was broadcast live on state radio. According to 137 parliamentarians voted for his resignation, 121 against. There were two abstentions. The deputies accuse Karbassian, among other things, “inefficiency and lack of planning”. President Hassan Rohani recently changed chief and vice chief of the central bank.
With Karbassians dismissal, the pressure on Rohani continues to grow.

Iran has been fighting for years with high unemployment and rising inflation. However, since the unilateral US exit from the nuclear deal and the newly imposed financial and trade restrictions, the government in Tehran is under particular pressure as the economy continues to weaken.

US President Donald Trump quit the 2015 nuclear agreement signed in May by his predecessor Barack Obama between Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, and imposed new sanctions. He wants to force Iran to a stricter agreement.

The other signatory states want to save the agreement. The EU had decided on Thursday to support Iran with 18 million euros. This should cushion the impact of US sanctions and persuade the Islamic Republic to stick to the agreement. The US criticized that it would stifle meaningful political changes.

Already in December there had been protests in Iran, in which several people were killed. Since then, there have been occasional protests, led by truck drivers, farmers and traders at the Tehran bazaar. According to Tasnim, Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief Ali Dschafari said Iran faces a “unique, complicated and sensitive” situation in which security is threatened both externally and internally.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Sarif accused the US of psychological warfare, but acknowledged that the nuclear deal had led to conflicts in Iran as well. “There are some in the country who have voted for a political struggle rather than laying the foundations to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the nuclear deal,” Sarif said, according to the Iranian agency Isna. “And this political struggle led to despair and disappointment.”

In Iran, especially the hardliners around ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hope that Trump’s policies could effect Rohani’s fall and her return to power.