Ahmadinejad accuses Iran speaker's family of corruption

Sun Feb 3, 2013 3:33pm EST
 

By Yeganeh Torbati

DUBAI (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the parliament speaker's family of corruption on Sunday, turning a long-standing rivalry between two of Iran's most powerful figures into a face-to-face feud, months before an election.

Addressing parliament to defend one of his ministers against impeachment, Ahmadinejad went on the attack, playing astonished lawmakers a recorded conversation with the brother of the speaker that he said implicated the whole family in corruption.

Speaker Ali Larijani is a likely frontrunner to succeed Ahmadinejad at a June election but a financial corruption scandal could damage his standing among voters struggling with an economy battered by Western economic sanctions.

Under Larijani's chairmanship, parliament has been hostile to Ahmadinejad for most of his second four-year term and on Sunday it voted to dismiss Labor Minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami over his decision to appoint Saeed Mortazavi, a former prosecutor accused of links to the deaths of prisoners, to a new job.

Ahmadinejad played what he said was a recording of a conversation between Mortazavi and Fazel Larijani, the speaker's brother, that proved the family had used the prominence of the five Larijani brothers for economic gain.

But the recording was inaudible and Ahmadinejad read out what he said was a summary.

He said Fazel Larijani had implied to Mortazavi that he could use his brothers' influence to remove obstacles in return for involvement in some business endeavors.

"These are audio and video, and the tape is clear," said Ahmadinejad, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA). "If the honorable parliament speaker sees fit, we can turn over the 24 to 25 hours (of recordings) to you."   Continued...

 
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl