Iran parliament dismisses minister over fake degree

November 4th, 2008 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Nov 4 (DPA) Iranian parliament Tuesday dismissed the interior minister for presenting a false document and refusing to resign following his admission that his university certificate was a fake.Ali Kordan had been under pressure since August, when he took office, to make the case clear but refused to resign when Oxford University in Britain denied awarding him an honorary doctorate through its representative in Tehran, as he had claimed.

“What is important today is the reputation of the Islamic system. The sensitive (cabinet) post of interior minister needs Mr Kordan (to serve in) another post,” said the conservative MP Ali-Asghar Dastgheib during the session broadcast live on state radio.

“For what crime (do) I had to face such extensive attacks?” Kordan asked the parliament. But he was later criticized by another conservative deputy, Ali Motahari, who replied that “dishonesty was the main reason for this impeachment, not presenting a fake degree.”

Kordan, who blamed parliament deputies for disgracing him and giving a pretext to the Western media for creating what he called “psychological warfare” against the Islamic state, failed to convince parliament and therefore faced 188 votes for his dismissal out of a total of 247 votes.

Only a simple majority of deputies at the 290-seat parliament is needed to dismiss a minister.

The controversial case led to disputes between the conservative-dominated parliament and hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when the president refused to sack the minister and called university certificates “pieces of torn paper.”

The differences finally became a major scandal last Wednesday after the government’s representative at parliament, Mohammad Abbasi, was caught while he was trying to use governmental financial aid as a means to push deputies to drop the impeachment motion.

After Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani evicted Abbasi from parliament, Ahmadinejad was forced to dismiss his legislative representative.

Ahmadinejad, in a move to show his opposition to the parliament’s motion, did not take part in Tuesday morning’s impeachment session at the 290-seat parliament in downtown Tehran.

The conflict between the government and parliament is regarded by observers as not only indicating deep differences among conservatives but to be also a conflict between Ahmadinejad and Larijani, who used to be his close aide and acted as chief nuclear negotiator but resigned in 2007 due to grave differences with the president on how
to handle the nuclear dispute with the West.

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