Ali Akbar Salehi

A group of Iranian MPs has called on the head of Parliament to impeach Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi for his latest appointment to the ministry administration.

Fars news agency reports that the MPs are questioning the minister’s decision to appoint Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as financial deputy of the ministry, insisting that Malekzadeh’s “problematic background” poses a risk to the regime’s foreign interests.

Malekzadeh, a close aide to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, was immediately hired by the foreign ministry after he left his post at the controversial Supreme Council for Iranians Abroad.

Iran’s conservative elite has been targeting Mashai in recent months, calling Ahmadinejad’s right-hand man the leader of a “deviant current” that is trying to make the Islamic Republic stray from its path. Ahmadinejad has rejected all attacks on his chief of staff and is steadfastly supporting him.

The proposal to impeach Foreign Minister Salehi reportedly has been signed by 25 MPs, well above the minimum of 10 signatures required by parliamentary regulations.

They write: “Although appointing deputies is the prerogative of the minister, ministers do not have the right to appoint a deputy who is soon to be arrested on financial charges like the rest of his former colleagues at his previous place of work.”

The Supreme Council for Iranians Abroad has been under a parliamentary investigation of “funding sources and suspicious traffic.” Funding for the council was cut in May and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that the budget for the Council will be provided by the president’s office.

The MPs maintain that in view of the Foreign Ministry’s vital role as well as “foreign intelligence attempts at infiltrating it, the role of financial deputy gains greater importance.” They warned the foreign minister against dismissing this matter.