Controversy continues over the appointment of former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi to the head of Iran’s Social Security Fund, as the Ahmadinejad administration tests its power against Iranian lawmakers.
Vice President Mohammadreza Rahimi announced that the recent ruling by the Court of Administrative Justice against Mortazavi’s appointment was invalid, because the Social Security Fund is not a government organization and, therefore, it falls outside the court’s jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the Court of Administrative Justice announced that its ruling will be officially released in tomorrow’s papers, and MP Ahmad Tavakoli announced that if Mortazavi is not dismissed, the Minister of Labour will also face dismissal.
Vice President Rahimi had said, however, that the Social Security Fund is a non-governmental, non-profit public organization; therefore, the Court of Administrative Justice cannot rule on its appointments.
The same points were also declared by Mortazavi’s lawyer, Mohammad Aslani.
Mortazavi is charged with abetting the torture and death of detainees at Kahrizak Prison in 2009. A parliamentary probe into the events concluded that Mortazavi, Tehran’s Prosecutor at the time, had transferred election protesters to Kahrizak knowing that they would be tortured. Kahrizak was ordered closed by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and two other judges are also charged in the case. The three top judiciary figures have not yet stood trial.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has supported Mortazavi, appointing him to head the task force against smuggling as soon as he was removed from his position as prosecutor.
Mortazavi was recently appointed to the helm of the Social Security Fund, which triggered the current controversy.
The Court of Administrative Justice has announced that if officials fail to heed its ruling, they will be suspended from their government position for a period of three months to a year and will be subject to a fine.
Tavakoli stressed: “Mortazavi cannot remain in his position [as head of the Social Security Fund] and, if after the ruling has been officially announced, he proceeds to sign any further orders, he will have to be prosecuted.”