Iranian president accuses speaker’s family of corruption

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the parliament speaker’s family of corruption, during an angry debate reflecting a struggle between the Iranian leader and rival factions in his final months in power.

The president used a speech defending a minister against impeachment to levy accusations of corruption against the family of speaker Ali Larijani, in a session marked by jeering and shouting.

The legislature voted 192 to 56 to remove labour minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami over what MPs said was the illegal appointment of Saeed Mortazavi, a former prosecutor accused of links to the deaths of prisoners.

Mr Ahmadinejad said he had a tape of a private conversation between Fazel Larijani, the speaker’s brother, and Mr Mortazavi, that proved the family had used the official prominence of the five Larijani brothers for economic gain.

The president played a portion of the tape but it could not be heard clearly in the chamber, so he read what he said was a summary of the conversations.

He claimed Fazel Larijani had implied to Mr Mortazavi that he could use his brothers’ influence to remove obstacles for private firms, in return for involvement in their projects.

“These are audio and video, and the tape is clear,” said Mr Ahmadinejad. “If the honourable parliament speaker sees fit, we can turn over the 24 to 25 hours [of tape] to you.”

Ali Larijani, a possible presidential contender in elections to be held in June, fired back at Mr Ahmadinejad, saying the president’s accusations had nothing to do with Mr Sheikholeslami’s impeachment, and denying the charge of corruption.