Ali Motahari

The resignation of Ali Motahari was voted down in Parliament today, with 155 nay votes returning him to his role as Member of Parliament.

The Khabar-online website reports that 33 MPs voted in favour of his resignation and 12 abstained.

Motahari, a conservative MP and staunch critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, submitted his resignation to Parliament’s Presiding Board last month to protest MPs’ refusal to consider questioning the president in Parliament on a number of irregularities.

Motahari explained his decision to resign at today’s session, saying the president’s refusal to execute the law is “the beginning of despotism.”

Motahari initiated the motion to question Ahmadinejad about a series of more than 12 irregularities, and it drew the signatures of 100 MPs.

The Presiding Board claimed it had rejected the motion because some MPs had withdrawn their support for the motion, so that it fell short of the necessary signatures.

Parliament announced last week, however, that the motion to question the president is again on track with 74 signatures.

Some opponents of the motion have expressed concern that Ahmadinejad might use the one-hour questioning period to discuss issues that are “against the country’s general interests.”