Abdolreza Sheikoleslami

A motion to impeach the Minister of Labour has been handed to the Iranian Parliament, triggered by the appointment of Saeed Mortazavi to head the Social Security Fund.

Iranian media report that the motion to impeach of Absolreza Sheikoleslami, with 20 signatures attached, was officially read in Parliament.

Ahmad Tavakoli and Elias Naderan were the two MPs that initiated the motion.

Mortazavi was Tehran’s Prosecutor for seven years and is the main suspect in the case of prisoners being tortured and killed at the Kahrizak Detention Centre in the post-election tumult of 2009.

Mortazavi was removed from his position as prosecutor when news of the death of detainees hit the media, and Iran’s Supreme Leader ordered the closure of Kahrizak.

Mortazavi, a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has enjoyed the support of the administration and, upon his removal from the judiciary, he was immediately appointed as head of the task force against smuggling.

Last month, he was appointed to head the Social Security Fund, which has further stoked the disputes between Parliament and the administration.

The motion states: “The reason for the impeachment is the appointment of Saeed Mortazavi to head the Social Security Fund, which is against the interest of the country and in violation of the law and harmful the to 33 million hardworking workers of the country and their families.”

Mortazavi’s suspension from his position as Tehran Prosecutor and the fact that the case against him still remains open, as well as the fact that he has falsely claimed in public that he has been acquitted of the charges against him, are among the numerous reasons cited by the signatories calling for the Minister of Labour’s impeachment.

They write: “It has been said that the minister has attributed his appointment of Mr. Mortazavi to the President; but a minister who acts against the interests of the people and the country and cannot resist unfair pressure cannot be trusted by Parliament.”

Earlier, Ahmadinejad had reportedly reacted to the possible impeachment of his Labour Minister, saying that if Shiekoleslami were impeached, then he would appoint Mortazavi as the new Labour Minister.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader met with MPs yesterday, calling for fewer disputes between Parliament and the administration. Some MPs had stated that in view of that recommendation, the impeachment of the Labour Minister should be dropped.