Iran’s Interior Minister Sacked

A03265381.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian parliament on Tuesday voted to sack Interior Minister Ali Kordan for lying about his credentials and presenting a fake degree from a prestigious British university.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to appear in parliament for the impeachment, saying that the lawmakers do not have the right to impeach a minister before he starts work.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said 188 MPs among the 247 present voted to impeach Kordan for dishonesty while 45 lawmakers were against the motion and 14 abstained.

“The impeachment was approved by parliament and he cannot be interior minister from now on,” Larijani said.

It was the 10th change in the 21-strong cabinet of Ahmadinejad, who had described Kordan as a “victim” and insisted he be allowed to remain in the job.

The impeachment puts Ahmadinejad’s government in a fragile position as under Iran’s constitution the entire cabinet would have to be submitted to a new vote of confidence if half the ministers change.

“Kordan’s impeachment was a trial for the country and the system. It showed that the parliament has no tolerance for anyone in its bid to implement the law,” Larijani said after the session.

Kordan had been under pressure to quit the key cabinet post he took up just three months ago after Oxford University denied awarding him any qualification, as he had claimed.

Several MPs delivered heated speeches to the house, arguing that Kordan could not be trusted to run such a sensitive ministry and that he had benefited from the financial perks of a degree he had not earned.

Kordan accused the media of launching a smear campaign against him by portraying him as a “terrorist” and “violence-seeking person”, naming Israeli radio and some Persian-speaking media based outside Iran.

He had shown the purported degree to MPs in a controversial vote of confidence on August 5 but he told parliament on Tuesday he would not have presented the degree if he had doubted its validity.

Kordan replaced Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.

The interior ministry is charged with maintaining domestic security as well as holding elections, appointing provincial governors and issuing permits for political parties and non-governmental organizations.

A veteran manager in the Islamic republic, Kordan served for years as the administrative and financial vice president of state television when it was headed by Larijani and also served in the oil ministry.

Kordan said he had approached Oxford University after MPs cast doubt on his degree, but “to my utter disbelief, the university did not confirm (the degree) when my representative went there.”

He said he had pressed charges against the person who claimed to represent Oxford University in Tehran as soon as he realized his degree was fake.

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