An EA correspondent from Iran replays the highlights/lowlights of the President's appearance in Parliament on Wednesday:
Ahmadinejad did not reply to any of the MPs questions properly. Instead he mixed jokes and criticism in his characteristic style, joshing and laugh. We wait to see the effect --- most of the MPs were not satisfied with the answers, believing the President had again insulted the parliament and undermined its authority.
A Message for The Designer of the Questions
Ahmadinejad indirectly insulted and questioned the competence of the writers and main planner, MP Ali Motahari, of the 10 enquiries: “If you have consulted the government, better (i.e. more challenging) questions would have been recommended. It seems that the designer of the questions is the person who has got his master degree with pressing a button!”
Dismissing the Foreign Minister
In reply to a question about the dismissal of Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki he was on a mission in Senegal, Ahmadinejad said the order to remove Mottaki has been issued before the trip to Africa: “It is the President's legal right to appoint or dismiss his ministers”.
Ahmadinejad then added this curious note: "Can I ask you who sent Mr Mottaki on a mission? Was it me? I never sent him on that mission."
Dealing with "Bad Hijab"
Ahmadinenad was vocal in reply to a question asking why he had expressed an opinion about mandatory headscarves for women:
What did I say? I have a few criticism that I wanted to express in a friendly way. We should not blame and question our youth and nation as soon as a cultural (e.g. Hijab) problem occurs.
Is it possible that whenever we have an election [such as the 2 March Parliamentary vote], or the 22 Bahman anniversary [of the 1979 Islamic Revolution], we zoom the camera on all different type of people (i.e. religious and "unreligious") and bring everyone forward, but as soon as this period finishes, we repress/suppress the same type of people? This is a contradiction, and this contradiction will cause problems one day.
If You are Brave, Interrogate Others....
Ahmadinejad said questioning the President is "nothing major" and does not require bravery: “The President is the servant of the nation and his neck is thinner that a hair”. He then challenged, “If there is any courage and bravery (i.e. if you MPs are brave), then question or criticise others too, and then we can feel what Mr. Javanfekr is going through. I will come and visit you in prison and bring you fruit compote."
Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a senior advisor to the President, has been sentenced to one year in prison on the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader” in an entry on his personal blog.
....And Go Question Other Organisations
Ahmadinejad said that there are so many organisations supervising the Government, such as Parliament and the judiciary that "we are grateful to God that not even one major violation of the law by the Government has been proven".
The President asked the MPs if they have interrogated other organisations: “Have a look at what the city councils are doing. So much of the budget has been given to the councils, go and see how they are spending the money."