Iran roads minister survives impeachment, gets MPs confidence vote
Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi has survived an impeachment bid by the Parliament after securing a vote of confidence from lawmakers.
Akhoundi attended an open session of Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on Sunday for the second time since he took the helm in August 2013. He had already survived an impeachment session in October 2015.
In the Sunday session, Akhoundi secured a vote of confidence as 176 lawmakers out of a a total of 255 voted in favor of his reinstatement while 74 voted against and 5 abstained.
Several cabinet members, including First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, accompanied Akhoundi during the hearing at the legislature.
The embattled minister was being grilled over a number of issues including a train collision that killed nearly 50 people in north central Iran on November 25, 2016. Some lawmakers blamed Akhoundi’s mismanagement for the deadly crash.
A total of 45 people lost their lives and 103 others were injured in the deadly collision of two passenger trains in Iran’s north-central province of Semnan.
The head of a committee investigating the train crash, Akbar Torkan, said on December 3, 2016 that an operator in charge of the Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) of Shahroud railway station was responsible for the fatal collision.
Other controversial issues during the minister’s tenure included a national housing project, which was stopped under Akhoundi, who called it nonsense, and deals for purchasing airliners from Western plane makers. Some lawmakers believed that considering the situation of the country’s roads and railroad transport, purchasing new planes was not a priority, as land transportation needed more attention from the ministry.