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Iran Lawmakers Sack Economy Minister In Another Blow To President Rohani


Masoud Karbasian

The Iranian parliament has voted to remove the minister of economic affairs and finance from office, amid mounting discontentment toward President Hassan Rohani’s government over a deterioration in the country's economic situation.

A total of 137 lawmakers on August 26 voted against Masoud Karbasian, citing his "inability to clarify and improve the economy of the country," among other things.

Of members of parliament present, 121 voted in favor of the minister remaining in office.

The move was the latest in a continuing shake-up of top economic personnel, as the United States reimposes economic sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and nuclear powers.

But in a speech ahead of the parliament vote, conservative lawmaker Abbas Payizadeh said that "inefficiency and lack of planning have nothing to do with sanctions."

"Wrong decisions have harmed the people and led to individuals looting public assets," Payizadeh added.

Karbasian is the second minister in Rohani's cabinet to be impeached this month, following the removal of Labor Minister Ali Rabei on August 8.

Amid growing public anxiety over high inflation and economic hardships that led to sporadic street protests in Tehran and other cities, Rohani's government appointed a new Central Bank governor in late July.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May, and Washington this month began restoring U.S. sanctions that were lifted under the accord in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.

A second round of penalties targeting Iran’s crude exports is due to come into effect in early November.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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