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Lawmakers To Take Iran's Former President Rouhani To Court

Nasrollah Pejmanfar, a hardliner member of the Iranian parliament (Majles) and the deputy chairman of Article 90 committee says they have filed a complaint against Iran's former President Hassan Rouhani because he did not fulfil some of his responsibilities as the country's president.

Many of the hardliners who are now members of the Iranian parliament had vowed during their election campaign in early 2020 to take Rouhani to court over several mainly economy-related charges including responsibility in the depreciation of the Iranian currency, rising unemployment and high inflation.

The Article 90 Committee is a parliamentary body mandated by the Constitution. According to the Article 90 of the Iranian constitution, "Whoever has a complaint concerning the work of the parliament or the executive body or the judicial body of the government can forward his complaint in writing to the committee. The committee must investigate the complaint and give a satisfactory reply.”

Pejamanfar told IRGC-linked news agency Tasnim that the charges against Rouhani are particularly about his administration’s interventions in the country's capital and the forex markets.

Nearly one month after Rouhani left the presidential palace, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has still not appointed him to a new position. In the case of former presidents, Khamenei usually appointed them as members of the Expediency Council almost immediately after their terms ended.

Former President Mohammad Khatami is an exception, as according to his aides he was offered the job in 2005, but he asked to be excused to take care of "some personal matters.”

Reformist daily, Etemad in Tehran wrote on Tuesday that Rouhani was an Expediency Council member but his last appearance at the council dates back to January 2017. Since then, he has not been seen at any of the council's sessions.

Etemad wrote that based on rumors in political circles in Tehran, Rouhani was expected to be appointed as the chairman of the Expediency Council.

In recent weeks, Rouhani has not been seen in public after his presence in President Ebrahim Raisi's inauguration ceremony in early August. Many in Iran's political circles doubt whether he would return to the forefront of politics in Tehran.

Rouhani lost a lot of his popularity for taking side with the hard core of the regime following crackdowns on nationwide protests in 2018 and 2019 and for his laughing gestures on live TV after 176 people were killed in an IRGC missile attack on a civilian aircraft in 2020.   Meanwhile, he fell out of favor with Khamenei by complaining about his lack of political powers and demanding a referendum to change the constitution. At the same time, the conviction of his brother for embezzlement and taking bribes badly damaged his reputation while he was also forced to align himself with regime hardliners even though he was elected in 2013 and 2017 on a reformist.

At the end of his last day as president, Rouhani appeared on live TV and when asked about his plans for the future, he said: "I would like to go back to academic and cultural activities." This is a symbolic gesture in the clerical circles that means he is expecting a period of isolation.

Nonetheless, Mohammad Atrianfar, a reformist analyst, told Etemad that Rouhani is likely to return to the Expediency Council and be its chairman, but Khamenei is apparently waiting for the term of office of the Council's current chairman Sadegh Amoli Larijani to end. That is not going to happen anytime sooner than December 2023.

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