In a move that appears to be focused on consolidating power and boosting morale, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has canceled the impeachment motions targeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s ministers. The announcement came this week, as the economic bite of U.S. sanctions continues to negatively impact the Iranian economic crisis.
It appears that all the signatories for the motions have withdrawn their signatures, indicating a shift within the parliament. These impeachment motions were being used as part of the pressure tactics of the Supreme Leader against members of Rouhani’s cabinet and administration.
Early Signs of Disunity Quashed
There were reports that Khamenei wanted to impeach these ministers, as part of a strategy revolving around exerting his power and control. Other reports indicate that he was also the one that pulled the plug on the impeachments, although this remains unconfirmed. Reports had indicated that the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture Jihad, and the Interior were up for impeachment.
Other ministers have already been impeached, including those in Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Ali Rabeie, and Economy. There have also been several ministers that have resigned to avoid the potential impeachment process. At the same time, one of these ministers who was targeted for impeachment won a vote of confidence to become the new Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare after resigning as Minister of Industries and Mines.
Political Cracks Showing in Withdrawal of Impeachment
The Iranian regime is fending off a variety of threats to its existence, including the shifts in the international arena that are being led by the United States. With increasing sanctions, the economic crisis that had been growing in Iran has only gotten worse. Unemployment continues to grow and the rate of unemployment among university graduates has increased to 40%. Protests began last year and have continued to grow in intensity as Iranians call for change from the mismanagement and corruption of the regime.
These protests and demonstrations have crossed industries, gender, and social classes. Many argue that the regime is ruining the rich cultural history of Iran by denying its celebrations, such as the Cyrus the Great celebration. The regime is trying to avoid any large gatherings, in hope that they can prevent an uprising.
Additionally, as part of its repressive tactics, the regime has increased the number of arrests, use of physical abuse, and even the number of executions for minor charges. These activities go on despite the fact that they violate various international laws that the Iranian government agreed to.
As a result, the alleged actions of the Supreme Leader in withdrawing the impeachment petitions seems to demonstrate that the regime is fearful of the number of protests and uprisings throughout the country.
Despite all their efforts, they have not been able to end or extinguish the flames of uprising and its continuing in various forms around the counter by different segments of the society. It will be a much harder year for the regime and a sign that its downfall is drawing ever closer.