Middle East

Iranian lawmakers oust minister in victory for hard-liners

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian lawmakers have voted to sack President Hassan Rouhani’s labor minister, in a victory for hard-liners opposed to the relative moderate.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani says 129 out of 243 lawmakers present voted to oust Labor Minister Ali Rabiei. Critics accused him of mismanagement and blamed him for the country’s recent economic problems, which have been exacerbated by the restoration of U.S. sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear agreement.

His allies say he is not responsible for the crisis, and were able to fend off an earlier attempt to impeach him in March.

Hard-liners plan to question Rouhani in the coming weeks about the government’s response to the crisis, which has seen the rial plummet to a record low against the dollar and sent unemployment to 12.5 percent.

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