Iranian lawmakers have submitted the impeachment draft for the country's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi following his controversial nomination of a new deputy.
Thirty-three Iranian legislators invoked a parliamentary procedure on Tuesday to force Salehi to defend himself at the Parliament (Majlis) over his decision to pick Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, Majlis news agency (ICANA) reported.
The impeachment process against Salehi comes as the Iranian Intelligence Ministry on Monday opposed the appointment of Malekzadeh as the country's new deputy foreign minister.
During a meeting between members of Iran's Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy and the Iranian foreign minister on Sunday, Salehi was informed of the reason for the opposition of lawmakers to Malekzadeh's appointment and their plan for his impeachment.
“Apparently, Salehi was not aware of this individual's criminal record and his infringements,” Iranian lawmaker Zohreh Elahian said.
“In this meeting, Salehi said the presence of a person with criminal records in the diplomatic apparatus is not in the interest of the country… Therefore, he will dismiss Malekzadeh if his infringements of the law are proven,” she added.
Meanwhile, Malekzadeh submitted his resignation to Salehi on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to avert a motion seeking the foreign minister's impeachment.
The Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, however, has made it clear that the impeachment effort will go forward as planned unless legislators themselves move to withdraw their impeachment motion against Salehi.
Under the Iranian Constitution, members of the Iranian Parliament can impeach an individual minister in instances they deem necessary. An impeachment motion can be submitted if it bears the signatures of at least 10 lawmakers.