Iran’s president has accused the brother of the speaker of parliament of corruption, increasing tensions between two of the country’s most powerful political figures in the run-up to presidential elections in the country.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cabinet were in parliament on Sunday for the impeachment hearing of Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, the labour minister, when he levelled the accusations against Fazel Larijani, the speaker’s brother.
He played an inaudible audio recording in which Fazel allegedly says he used his family’s status for economic gains, but both brothers dismissed the allegations made by Ahmadinejad.
“Our problem is that our president does not observe the basics of proper behaviour,” Ali Larijani, the speaker, said, retorting to the president’s comments, adding that it had nothing to do with Sheikholeslami’s impeachment process.
“Actually it’s a good thing that you played this tape today, so that the people better understand your character.”
Al Jazeera’s Soraya Lennie, reporting from Tehran, said: “Most of [the reactions] have been quite negative and critical of the president. One parliamentarian said the president is not acting in the manner befitting his post.”
During Sunday’s impeachment hearing, Ali Larijani told Ahmadinejad that parliament was not the proper place for the corruption discussion and that he should take any accusation to the relevant authorities.
He also denied a request by Ahmadinejad to speak again.
Ahmadinejad claims that the audio recording of a conversation between Saeed Mortazavi, an associate of Ahmadinejad, and Fazel Larijani was proof of Fazel implying that he could use his brothers’ influence to remove obstacles in return for involvement in business endeavours.
The Larijani family is one of the countries most influential political families. Sadeq Larjani, Iran’s judiciary chief, is a brother of Fazel and Ali.
Fazel told Iran’s Fars news agency that he would file a legal complaint against Ahmadinejad and Mortazavi for “spreading lies and disturbing public opinion”.
“This was a conspiratorial step and hypocritical action taken so that Mortazavi could use it as leverage,” he said.
“I’m not the first person to be attacked by these Mafia-like individuals.”