Ahmadinejad called before parliament
For the first time in the history of the theocracy, an Iranian president has been called before parliament to answer questions about his stewardship.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who lost a power struggle last year with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, responded to a series of questions with an hour long harangue about how great he is.
Ahmadinejad was also asked why he had sacked former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki while he was on a mission to Senegal. Ahmadinejad replied that Mottaki had been told that he was no longer the foreign minister before he went to Senegal, and should not have gone there at all.
Lawmakers also quizzed him about his failed attempt to fire Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi in April. When Khamenei vetoed the move, Ahmadinejad retreated from the public eye for 11 days, skipping Cabinet meetings.
Asked about that absence, Iran's Press TV quotes the president as responding: "It was said I stayed at home for 11 days. This is one of those things! Ahmadinejad staying home and resting? Most people tell us rest for one day and make time for yourself."
Motahari asked him to explain why the president had not stopped a close adviser of his, Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei, from promoting nationalism as opposed to the concept of unity among Muslims.
Motahari also objected to the president's views on enforcing the wearing of head scarves and other Islamic rules.
Ahmadinejad said that he believes that cultural issues cannot be resolved by force and aggression. Rather, the people must be educated and abide by those rules of their own accord, he said.
"Cultural approaches are incompatible with harsh methods. Is it wrong to say do not be so strict with boys and girls? These are our own children. Youths must be respected," Press TV quotes him as saying.
If Ahmadinejad truly belives that, then why do the religious police go around beating women not covered head to toe? I guess he doesn't think that's "strict."
But the president saved his best lines for last:
The president finished by urging lawmakers to award him a top grade for his performance.
"We answered the questions and said some extra things. It would be unfriendly and disrespectful if you give (me a mark) less than an A," he said, according to Press TV.
The parliament was not amused, accusing Ahmadinejad of exhibiting a "casual attitude" toward the body.
With the economy in the toilet, Ahmadinejad is being blamed. He will apparently survive until the end of his term but be on a very short leash from both the Supreme Leader and the parliament.