Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to Leave Public Life, Teach at University

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a news conference in Beirut. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

By Roshanak Astaraki

The Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani has said that he plans to leave public life and accept a job as a university professor after stepping down in the coming days.

Mr. Larijani, who has been the Majlis Speaker for the past 12 years, made the comments in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) channel two TV (IRTV2).

“My true home is the university,” Larijani said. “I learned much from the current [10th] Majlis. We did our utmost to address many issues concerning the public. I will teach at a university.”

“I will fulfill my duty to the Revolution,” he added.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”REUTERS./” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionsrc=”custom” caption=”FILE PHOTO: Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani shakes hands with a soldier as he inaugurates a new underground missile depot in this undated handout photo. ” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

The semi-official Fars news agency reported on May 21 that some of Larijani’s friends and associates have been trying to persuade him to take over from Rear Admiral Upper Half Ali Shamkhani as the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, a post he held between 2005 to 2007 but stepped down from after alleged disagreements with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Larijani supports President Hassan Rouhani’s more conciliatory policy towards the U.S. This could pave the way for opening talks with Washington if he were appointed as the new Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

Others have speculated that Larijani may run for president in the next year’s election. None of these scenarios could happen without the approval of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Larijani told IRTV2 that it was his idea for Majlis deputies to wear the uniforms of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — in a show of support for the force — after the U.S. designated it as a terrorist organization in April 2019.

“I was attending a conference in Qatar,” Larijani recalled. “As I was boarding the plane, my Secretary, Mr. Jafari, informed me that the U.S. had stupidly designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization. I was shocked, given that the IRGC is part of our military force. We discussed the issue for two hours during the flight and came up with the idea of letting the U.S. know that the IRGC represented all of us.”

“It was around 11 p.m. when I contacted the IRGC HQ, asking them to send 200 uniforms to the Majlis,” Larijani explained. “All Majlis deputies wore the uniforms with no objections. We sent a message to the U.S. that we unequivocally supported the IRGC and all members of our armed forces, despite America’s relentless insults.”

Larijani, a staunch supporter of Mr. Rouhani, added: “We issued tens of thousands of notices to the president and his cabinet in the 10th Majlis. Cabinet ministers responded to some 3,000 inquiries from the Majlis. Deputies asked 183 questions from the cabinet ministers during the open sessions of the Majlis and voted on all those issues. President Rouhani responded to five inquiries. The 10th Majlis conducted six impeachment proceedings and withdrew its vote of confidence from individuals involved in two of those cases.”

“The 10th Majlis summoned 63 officials to clarify issues regarding industries, agriculture, water management, financial institutions, and foreign investments,” Larijani noted. “The Supreme Audit Court of Iran compiled 8,516 reports including an investigation into astronomical salaries paid to 60,000 managers. The excess fund was eventually returned to the treasury. We also submitted 3,285 reports to the Supreme Audit Court of Iran.”

According to independent reports, many managers in the government continue to collect massive salaries. The Majlis has not stopped such excesses despite passing laws to prevent financial abuse and favoritism.

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.

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