Ali Motahari

Conservative MP Ali Motahari today said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself is to blame for parliament’s recent dismissal of the president’s trusted transport minister. Ever since Hamid Behbahani’s ouster on February 1, parliament and the president have been sniping back and forth over the issue.

Motahari said Behbahani’s fate was sealed when he failed to attend his own impeachment hearing, forcing parliament to follow through with the dismissal. Parliament was holding Bebahani responsible for numerous fatal plane crashes in the country and mismanagement of Ministry resources.

“If Mr. Bebahani had appeared in parliament and responded to the criticisms, his dismissal would not have been approved by the MPs and he would still be minister,” Motahari said. However, Ahmadinejad’s office previously announced that the president and his minister did not attend the session because it was “illegal.” Their reasoning was that several MPs had withdrawn their names from the impeachment order, rendering it invalid.

In today’s response, Motahari said there were never fewer than 10 signatures on the order; therefore, the parliament’s actions were fully legal.

Despite Behbahani’s dismissal as minister, Ahmadinejad announced today that he has been retained as a presidential adviser on transportation matters. This follows yesterday’s announcement no new transportation minister would be appointed, because that ministry will be merged with another.