Iran’s transport minister wins confidence vote

February 19, 2017

TEHRAN - Iran’s Minister of Transport and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi won confidence vote of the lawmakers in an impeachment session on Sunday.

Of 255 MPs present in the 290-seat Majlis, 176 voted against the impeachment, 74 voted for, and 5 abstained.

The proponents of the impeachment accused Akhoundi of mismanagement after a railroad collision in November 2016. They also claimed lack of transparency in the contracts for purchase of planes from Airbus and Italy’s ATR.

It was the second time that Akhoundi faced impeachment. In the first impeachment motion against him in 2015, he won vote of confidence and remained in office.

Akhoundi apologized for the train crash which left 45 people dead and over 100 wounded.

A number of the MPs who voted for the impeachment said that the motion was not politically motivated.

Mohammad Hossein Farhangi, an MP from Tabriz who voted for the impeachment, criticized Akhoundi for not taking action to improve the railway infrastructure. Mehdi Moghaddasi, a representative from Arak, said the impeachment is not intended to undermine the government’s performance.

Gholamreza Tajgardoon, representative of Gachsaran, who voted against the impeachment, said the minister should be helped instead of being impeached.

Several cabinet members, including First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, accompanied Akhoundi during the impeachment session.

According to Press TV, other controversial issues during the minister's tenure included a low speed in completing the Mehr housing projects.

The minister has been a vocal critic of the Mehr housing project initiated under the Ahmadinejad presidency.

Some lawmakers believed that considering the situation of the country’s roads and railroad transport, a purchasing of new planes was not a priority, as land transportation needed more attention from the ministry.

NA/PA

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