Rahimi’s Campaign Donation Charges Outrage MPs
Allegations that some candidates who ran in the 2008 parliamentary election received campaign contributions from former vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi have outraged MPs, with some of them demanding the names of those who had allegedly taken donations be made public.
ISNA reported on Wednesday that about 30 lawmakers signed a petition calling on Rahimi to make public the names of the MPs he claimed had received aid. But later IRNA reported that the parliamentarians decided to withdraw the petition due to concerns that it might lay the blame on the sitting parliament despite the fact that the allegations are related to the previous parliament.
Lawmaker Abdolvahid Fayazi told IRNA on Wednesday, "If Rahimi has any proof, he should submit them to the judiciary to allow it to launch an investigation into those allegations."
In a letter to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which was published on Tuesday, Rahimi claimed that about 170 candidates running for the 8th parliament (2008-2012) received over ten billion rials in campaign contributions.
Rahimi, who served as vice president from 2009 to 2013, was a close aide and confidant of Ahmadinejad, who left office in mid-2013 after serving two terms.
He also criticized his former boss for seeking to distance himself from the corruption charges leveled against him.
Last week, the Supreme Court handed down a five-year jail sentence for Rahimi and ordered him to pay about $1.3 million in fines. After being subject to lengthy judicial investigations into his alleged role in several high-profile bribery and embezzlement cases, he was indicted in March last year. A preliminary court had initially given him a 15-year prison term, but the Supreme Court commuted the sentence. The former official has denied all the charges. His lawyer has said he will appeal against the verdict.
Earlier this week in an effort to clear himself and his administration, Ahmadinejad’s office issued a statement saying the charges against his ex-deputy have nothing to do with the previous administration as the accusations date back to the time before Rahimi was appointed as first vice president. In his letter, Rahimi expressed regret over Ahmadinejad's remarks which were made "despite a long-lasting friendship," saying, "I have fallen victim of your (Ahmadinejad) intransigence and repeated attempts to damage the reputation of others," Fars news agency reported.
He said he expected Ahmadinejad to confirm that his deputy has "not betrayed the public purse," vowing to press ahead with his efforts to restore his reputation and prove his innocence.