Iran’s Khamenei Speaks to Fundamentalist Parliament

  • Sunday morning's video conference was Khamenei's first meeting with the representatives of the 11th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.
  • The new fundamentalist-dominated parliament jeered Zarif and moved to impeach Rouhani.
  • Khamenei advised members of the 11th parliament to "avoid marginalization and prioritize secondary issues."

In a video conference with members of Parliament, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, advised them to avoid marginalization and tensions between forces. He referred to the deputies’ harsh treatment of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and assured the Speaker that “marginalization” would be avoided.

Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a marja’ and the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously President of Iran from 1981 to 1989.

Sunday morning’s video conference was Khamenei’s first meeting with the representatives of the 11th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. According to the ISNA news agency, Khamenei, who appeared at the beginning of the meeting with a mask, deeply regretted the re-emergence of the coronavirus, and called on everyone to fully comply with health instructions.

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran was officially confirmed three days before the 11th parliamentary elections on March 2. According to evidence and reports, the virus entered Iran some time before, but officials delayed its official announcement.

For various reasons, especially public dissatisfaction with the poor living conditions and inefficiency of officials in solving economic and political problems, the turnout was less than 43%, and the lowest since the Islamic revolution.

However, Khamenei claimed that “despite the difficult economic situation and the disappointing propaganda of the enemies,” an acceptable percentage of the people participated in the elections and asked them to “appreciate this important position.”

Satisfaction with the Fundamentalists’ Domination of Parliament

The vast majority of the seats in the Eleventh Assembly are held by various fundamentalist groups, a significant portion of which are known for their extremism. This has clearly pleased Khamenei, who has called it “one of the strongest and most revolutionary assemblies since the revolution.”

About a month and a half after the official inauguration of the Parliament, the most important action of the principled representatives was to attack Hassan Rouhani’s government, sign a question, and whisper his impeachment, and bring to parliament a number of ministers of the twelfth government.

During a speech by Foreign Minister Zarif to Parliament, Javad Karimi Qudussi, one of the fundamentalist extremist representatives, and several other representatives chanted “Death to the liar,” against him and prevented him from continuing his speech.

In response to these delegates, Zarif said:

“Everything I said, the leader of the revolution heard. If I lied, they heard, they said Zarif is honest, if I told the truth, they heard and said he is brave. You called me a liar if the leader gave me a brave and honest character.”

Fars News Agency has published the video of this part of Zarif’s speech on its Twitter page. The question from Rouhani apparently has more than 200 signatures, but has not yet been announced by the board. On Friday, Karimi Qudussi expressed concern that the question “burns” the opportunity to impeach the president.

The Islamic Consultative Assembly also called the Iranian Parliament, the Iranian Majles (Arabicised spelling Majlis), is the national legislative body of Iran. The parliament has no major influence on foreign affairs or Iran’s nuclear policy, which are determined by Ali Khamenei.

Opposing Impeachment and Insulting Zarif?

Khamenei said in a video meeting with the deputies:

“Parliament’s relations with the government should be in accordance with the law and sharia, that is, there should be questioning and investigation as the right of the parliament, but insults and unknowing attitudes towards government officials are not allowed at all. Relationships are forbidden by Sharia.”

Without directly referring to Mohammad Javad Zarif, he added, “the presence of ministers in the first month of the parliament and the presentation of a report on the situation in the country was a very good thing, but the ministers should not be insulted or slandered.”

Referring to the “sensitive situation” in the last year of the twelfth government, and the first year of the 11th parliament, the Supreme Leader stressed that the two powers should manage the space in a way that “does not harm the important work of the country.”

Acknowledging that Iran’s “key issues” today include stagnation in production, rising unemployment and inflation, and the fall in the value of the national currency, Khamenei advised members of the 11th parliament to “avoid marginalization and prioritize secondary issues.”

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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