After Elections, is Rouhani’s Economy Minister now Safe?

By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

With the majority of election results counted, officials from President Hassan Rouhani’s administration are looking forward to working with a parliament that — while it continues to include conservatives — has excluded many of the more combative hard-liners.

Perhaps no one is more relieved by the election results than Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia. Tayebnia was summoned three times by this parliament and received an official warning each time. According to a report by Iranian Students’ News Agency, Tayebnia was on the threshold of being Rouhani’s second minister to be impeached. However, all three parliamentarians who summoned Tayebnia failed to win a seat in the future parliament.

The case of Tayebnia shows why these elections were so important for Rouhani. While many economic issues in Iran are far from being addressed, some of the criticism Tayebnia faced seemed more political in nature. He received his first summons just four months after entering the ministry to answer questions in response to comments made by the head of the Central Bank, Valiollah Seif.

Hard-line Iran member of parliament Hamid Rasaei summoned Tayebnia the second time. Though the questions were economic in nature, rumors swirled that Rasaei’s issues with the Foreign Ministry and the nuclear deal were the reasons for the summons. Rasaei was disqualified from running again for allegedly secretly making recordings with government officials.

Former Mahmoud Ahmadinejad adviser and hard-line Iran member of parliament Mehrdad Bazrpash brought Tayebnia to parliament the third time to question him regarding policies to raise taxes. After the summons, a recording of all of Bazrpash’s accusations was leaked. The recording did not include any of Tayebnia’s responses. A number of parliamentarians complained afterward that Bazrpash’s summons was more political than economic.

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