Iran President Hassan Rouhani. (IRNA)

November 14, 2019

President Hassan Rouhani has defended his criticism of the Iranian Judiciary about the way it deals with financial corruption in Iran, vowing not to remain silent before parliamentary elections.

In a speech on Monday, when Rouhani was heckled by protesters, he attacked Iran’s Judiciary controlled by hardliners for pursuing corruption cases selectively.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday November 13, Rouhani said: “Let us not turn the campaign against corruption into disputes” among officials.

Iran’s hardliners have been attacking Rouhani from all directions since his criticism of the Judiciary, accusing him of rasing the issue of corruption simply because his brother has been convicted for taking a bribe.

However, Rouhani again criticized one-sided approach to handling corruption on Wednesday. He told his cabinet that if corrupt individuals from all factions are put on trial, this will lead to unity, but if some corruption cases are concealed” while others are tried in courts, then there will be disputes.

He repeated the charges against the Judiciary about a $2.7 billion corruption case as well as several other smaller cases and demanded clarification on the outcome of the trials and investigations.

Rouhani defended his right to speak out and reiterated that he “cannot stay silent” at the outset of parliamentary elections in February.

He also called on his Oil Minister and the Central Bank Governor once again to explain to the people about the corruption cases they are aware of. However, the officials have remained silent so far, two days after Rouhani asked them to speak up.

Meanwhile, Rouhani who had said on Tuesday that Iran’s situation is “abnormal” and that the government cannot do anything without being able to export oil, said on Wednesday that he has managed to “harness the crisis to a great extent.” However, he did not explain the discrepancy between his two statements.

RFE/RL

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