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Iran Headlines: Impeachment of Science Minister, Sanctions Regime, and Cancer

Member of Parliament Mostafa Kavekebian speaks to Iran's parliament in Tehran.

IMPEACHMENT OF SCIENCE MINISTER

ISNA reported that President Hassan Rouhani’s Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana received a vote of no-confidence today during a parliamentary impeachment session. All 270 members of Iran’s parliament were present at the session. 145 MPs gave Faraji Dana a vote of no-confidence, 110 voted in support of him, while 15 MPs abstained. Photos of today’s session reveal that many of President Rouhani’s cabinet ministers and advisers attended the hearing in his absence while he was on a provincial tour.

According to Mehr News Agency, President Rouhani named Mohammad Ali Najafi, as caretaker minister of the Science, Research and Technology Ministry. Najafi was first appointed by Rouhani as the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization but later resigned. After his resignation, Najafi continued to serve in the Rouhani administration as an adviser to the president.   

Reformist Etemaad News quoted reformist member of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohammed Aref as saying that Reza Faraji Dana’s initial appointment as science minister “was based on merit,” and that if Iran’s youth and students want to correct the current situation, they should put their efforts towards ensuring victory in the (2016) parliamentary elections. “The future of the parliament is in the hands of the youth,” said Aref.

After the impeachment session concluded, Fars News Agency quoted the head of parliament’s Principalist faction,  Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel as saying, “The parliament is cooperating with the Rouhani administration, but MPs are sensitive to issues associated with the sedition.” During today’s impeachment session, a number of MPs accused Faraji Dana of being an “extremist” and being “associated with the (2009) sedition.”

With the headline, “Parliament says ‘no’ to the extremist,” a hard-line Vatane-Emrooz report wrote that “President Rouhani’s absence today during the parliamentary session didn’t have an impact on Faraji Dana’s impeachment.”

NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

In a wide ranging interview with Iranian Diplomacy, career diplomat Behzad Saberi said, “The fact is, the U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran are so complex, diverse, and widespread, that even American and Iranian officials who have years of experience, as well as an understanding of them and their mechanisms, are still confused by them. It’s obvious that the removal of sanctions regime was never intended to serve as a result of a nuclear agreement.”

Mehr News Agency reported that during a weekly press conference, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and EU high representative Catherine Ashton “will hold a bilateral meeting in early September,” before Iran and the P5+1 hold their next round of talks on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly. Afkhami also confirmed that there “has been some oil and petrochemical sanctions relief as a result of the nuclear negotiations.”

ECONOMY

A hard-line Raja News editorial questioned, “Why is President Hassan Rouhani so upset these days? Is it his critics, or his failed economic policy?”

SOCIETY

ISNA quoted Iran’s Deputy Health Minister for Research and Technology, Reza Malekzadeh as saying, “85,000 people in Iran suffer from cancer annually, and about 55,000 people die” from the disease. Malekzadeh also emphasized the need to promote cancer control awareness programs because “50 percent of these cancers are preventable.”

PHOTOS

President Hassan Rouhani visited the northwestern city of Ardabil during a provincial tour.

Tourists visit the Margoon Waterfall in Sepidan, Fars Province.

Iran’s National Taekwondo Federation hosted the 22nd annual World Military Taekwondo Championships in Tehran. Both Iranian male and female fighters won gold medals.