Iran’s economy minister Masoud Karbasian impeached

Iran’s finance minister has been impeached by the country’s parliament in the latest blow to the embattled government as it struggles against a fall in the currency value and a mounting economic crisis.

Masoud Karbasian lost the vote of confidence on Sunday by 137 votes to 121, with two abstentions.

He is the second minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet to be impeached this month following the removal of Labour Minister Ali Rabiei.

Critics of Rouhani’s government say it squandered the opportunities presented by the nuclear deal, which now looks increasingly moribund after the US pulled out in May and began reintroducing sanctions.

“Inefficiency and lack of planning have nothing to do with sanctions,” said one conservative MP, Abbas Payizadeh, in a speech ahead of the vote.

“Wrong decisions have harmed the people and led to individuals looting public assets.”

In late July, President Rouhani’s cabinet appointed a new governor for the central bank, a move seen as a concession to hardline critics who blame the government for economic problems.

Protests linked to the tough economic situation in the country began last December, spreading to more than 80 cities and towns and resulting in 25 deaths.

Sporadic protests, led by truck drivers, farmers and merchants in Tehran’s bazaar, have continued regularly since then and have occasionally resulted in violent confrontations with security forces.

Iran has struggled with high rates of inflation and joblessness for years, despite a slight improvement following the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which lifted international sanctions and saw a flood of foreign investors.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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