(Persia Digest) – President Rouhani of Iran attended a session at the Islamic Consultative Assembly [Parliament] today, Tuesday, to answer questions by lawmakers.
Persia Digest reports that the economic crisis brewing over the past few months culminated in lawmakers asking the President questions based on Article 88 of the Constitution.
The MPs posed five general questions: 1) Cabinet failure to control the smuggling of goods and currency, 2) Continued banking sanctions, 3) Cabinet failure to reduce unemployment, 4) Long-term economic downturn, 5) Sharp increases in forex rates and drop in the value of the national currency.
The President entered the dispatch box to answer the questions. Hassan Rouhani began by saying: “The White House must know that it will be very disappointed following today’s session, because there will be more confidence among all organs in Iran.”
Rouhani then proceeded to compare statistics on smuggling, employment rates, economic growth rate, and inflation with those under the Ahmadinejad cabinet.
He commented on the sharp drop in the value of the rial by saying: “Social, psychological, and foreign policy issues have had more impact than economic issues.”
In defense of the JCPOA, Rouhani said: “Nuclear talks conveyed to the world that our nuclear program is peaceful. They were lying when they said it was not. Various resolutions were issued against us based on this lie and we were referred to Chapter VII of the UN Security Council Charter. But we overcame this with the JCPOA.”
Qom MP, Mojtaba Zolnuri, then took the podium and proceeded to criticize the President’s answers on behalf of the lawmakers by calling the statistics provided by the President as contradictory, saying: “The JCPOA was meant to lift sanctions; but this still persists.”
Zolnuri stated: “The problem is that you [the President] were not able to get any guarantees in the JCPOA. The rise in currency rates was due to government mismanagement. You created the psychological war, because you intended to establish ties with the US; but Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.”
The President returned for his answers. Rouhani considered the main source of problems to be internal political disagreements, saying: “The unrests in December 2017 incited Mr Trump to announce at the end of December that he will leave the JCPOA. People were worried after these internal unrests and outside threats.”
Rouhani defended the JCPOA once again, and reiterated: “The other parties to the deal, especially the United States, have violated the deal. We have not reached all of our goals.”
Nevertheless, he stressed: “If the EU does not uphold its obligations, we will announce a third option (apart from leaving or staying in the JCPOA).”
The Iranian President stated: “The people are not afraid of America or difficulties. The people are not afraid of foreign threats. The people worry about the disputes among us. Their main issue is with the disagreements among us. If we unite, the people will know that problems can be resolved.”
Rouhani wrapped up by saying: “Today, we want to announce to the people and the world that we are united.” He also promised that forex rates will be balanced in the coming weeks.
Lawmakers then went on to vote on the answers given by the President. Voting results showed that they were satisfied with his answer on continued banking sanctions and the other four answers were not convincing. These questions were referred to the judiciary.
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