Iran: Parliament votes out finance minister over ailing economy

The Iranian parliament Sunday impeached the country’s economic affairs and finance minister as U.S. renewed sanctions on the Islamic Republic take toll on the economy and national currency, Rial.

The vote in the parliament removed Masoud Karbasian from office after 137 votes backed his removal while 121 opposed it, reports say.

The sacking takes place amid the deterioration of the country’s economy and alarming unemployment coupled with sharp fall of the Rial, which has lost half of its value since April.

Sanctions were re-imposed on Iran early this month after President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the multinational nuclear accord signed in 2015. Trump has claimed the Obama era deal, which provides for the gradual removal of economic sanctions and Tehran’s commitment to curb its nuclear enrichment program, was full of flaws.

The Trump administration is also set to enact by November 4 a series of new sanctions that will target Iran’s oil industry.

Masoud Karbasian is the second minister to be removed from President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet after the sacking by the parliament of labor minister, early this month.

Last month, Rouhani laid off the head of the central bank in a set of measures to cope with domestic pressure.

Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday the U.S. is waging a psychological war against Iran and its business partners, Tasnim news agency reported.

President Trump has warned that entities or countries doing business with Iran cannot do business with America. The warnings and the new sanctions have left many companies in the limbo. A majority of western companies, which have resumed business with Iran in the wake of the 2015 deal, have begun freezing projects or pulling out.

British Airways and Air France last week said they were wrapping up by mid-September flights to and from Tehran, citing profit reasons.

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