IRANIAN LAWMAKERS QUERY AHMADINEJAD ON FOREIGN, DOMESTIC POLICIES
IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday appeared in parliament to answer questions from lawmakers about his foreign and domestic policy decisions, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Ahmadinejad, who took an hour to respond to a long list of questions, insisted they had been in accordance with the law, and denied that he had challenged the authority of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
It was the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran's parliament has summoned the president.
Earlier this month, conservative candidates who support Ayatollah Khamenei were successful in the country's parliamentary elections.
Ahmadinejad's allies meanwhile fared badly, which analysts said has seriously compromised the president's political standing.
Centrist and reformist groups also lost many seats, and deep political rifts appeared among their senior leaders.
The summons, issued last month by the outgoing parliament, followed a long-awaited petition for a review of policy decisions by Ahmadinejad, who has been widely criticised in recent months by hardline MPs.
At yesterday's special session, which was broadcast live on state radio, conservative MP Ali Motahari read out 10 lengthy questions for the president, who was joined by eight senior cabinet ministers.
Although they focused on the economy, some delved into the rift between Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei, which has been widening for some time.
One question asked the president to explain his justification for his 11-day absence from government meetings last April after the supreme leader reinstated the Intelligence Minister, Heidar Moslehi, whom Ahmadinejad had just sacked.
But the president denied he had challenged Ayatollah Khamenei.
'This is one of those things. Ahmadinejad staying home and resting. Some of my friends have repeatedly told me to rest,' he was quoted as telling MPs by the state news agency, Irna.