October 7, 2020
The Iranian government has expressed its anger at the visit of Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf to a hospital in Tehran to follow up on the efforts to face the Covid-19 pandemic and decided to cancel a previously scheduled tripartite meeting between the heads of the Iranian authorities.
The dispute between the offices of the Iranian president and Parliament speaker filled headlines of Iranian media upon the cancellation of the meeting.
On Monday, Ghalibaf conducted a visit to the Khomeini hospital in Tehran, where he announced his intention to raise the problems in managing the pandemic at his meeting with the president and the prime minister.
In an implicit reference to the Iranian president’s absence from the field, Ghalibaf said: “Supervision is the primary task of Parliament; field supervision is one of its aspects… I have decided to look closely at the problems.”
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei tried to clarify the disagreement that arose between the two sides.
“The meeting was originally proposed by the Iranian president, who chose its timing,” he said, noting that the decision to cancel the appointment was taken after the Health Minister, Saeed Namaki, informed the presidency that during the visit, Ghalibaf had also entered the Critical Cases Section, where the risk of virus transmission is high.
Rabiei said that the National Committee to Combat the Coronavirus disease has hence recommended the postponement of the meeting for a period of time.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Iran’s spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, and President Hassan Rouhani have not left their headquarters. During this period, the former received a very limited number of officials.
Rouhani, for his part, did not attend any talks nor did he conduct any visits, except for his meetings with his ministerial team, which sparked criticism.