From The Telegraph:Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced demands for his impeachment after delivering a caustic defence of his record during an unprecedented public interrogation by Iran's parliament.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad berated MPs for not making their questions tough enough Photo: EPA
The Iranian president outraged MPs with a theatrically abrasive display in which he made light of becoming the first leader in the country's postrevolutionary history to be subjected to an official summons by the legislature.Mr Ahmadinejad's ordeal, broadcast live on state radio, offered a rare public glimpse into his increasingly bitter feud with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.The president has undoubtedly come off worse in the power struggle, with his power base significantly weakened by a parliamentary election this month that resulted in a decisive victory for the supreme leader's acolytes, known as "principalists".With just over a year to go before his final term in office expires, Mr Ahmadinejad has been left increasingly isolated and weak.His hopes of handpicking a successor have also been dented after Ayatollah Khamenei announced that the post of president would be abolished at the end of his rival's term and replaced with a figurehead appointed by parliament.Although the interrogation was designed to be humiliating, Mr Ahmadinejad chose to fight back by belittling his questioners with a series of mocking responses.He was questioned by the outgoing parliament over a series of economic policy issues, in particular his drive to end costly food and fuel subsidies, and a banking fraud that implicated some of his closest allies, further weakening his position.There were questions too about his decisions to sack the country's foreign and intelligence ministers in defiance of the supreme leader. The dismissals, seen as part of an attempt to wrest control of security and foreign affairs from Ayatollah Khamenei, initiated the feud with the supreme leader.After making a series of jokes, Mr Ahmadinejad berated MPs for not making their questions tough enough before making a sneering reference to new rules requiring MPs to have a master's degree."It was not a very difficult quiz," he said, adding that he expected to be given top marks for it."Any grade of less than 20 (out of 20) would be rude."After the session, MPs said they were furious with the president's casual manner."Ahmadinejad's answers to lawmakers' questions were illogical, illegal and an attempt to avoid answering them," Mohammad Taqi Rahbar was quoted as saying. "With an insulting tone, Ahmadinejad made fun of lawmakers' questions and insulted parliament."A number of legislators said they would now seek the president's impeachment, a step they are entitled to take if they found his answers unsatisfactory.For the moment, however, Ayatollah Khamenei is unlikely to go that far for fear of provoking an open rift that would be mutually damaging.Though weakened, Mr Ahmadinejad retains support among more moderate conservatives, who back his lack of diligence in imposing Islamic strictures on women. He also remains popular with the rural poor and could seek to forge an alliance in the new parliament with independent MPs representing countryside constituencies, which could make any attempt to remove him a protracted and unseemly affair.