Gov't Firm on Anti-Corruption Drive

Gov't Firm on Anti-Corruption Drive  Gov't Firm on Anti-Corruption Drive

President Hassan Rouhani has vowed his government will take a tough line on corruption.

Rouhani said, "We must strongly combat corruption at any level and purge our society of it," IRNA quoted him as saying on Monday during a cabinet meeting.  

The president lauded officials at the ministry of higher education for investigating the case of illegal scholarships and said, "I had instructed the ministry of higher education to investigate and address the case … and they have done a good job in this respect."         

“All those who have been involved in this case must be dealt with accordingly.”

“The case of (illegal) scholarships is just one example of corruption in the education sector … and obviously when there is corruption in the education sector, it adversely affects other areas,” Rouhani said.

On Saturday, the ministry of higher education published a report after a months-long investigation into the case of students who received government funds to study abroad during the term of the previous administration.    

According to the ministry, irregularities occurred in the process of awarding scholarships to applicants. The case is known as “illegal scholarships”.  

In the report, the ministry said it had studied over 3,772 scholarships granted in the period between 2009 and 2013 and found cases in which unqualified candidates received funds from the government, the Mehr news agency reported on Sunday.

Some analysts have commented that the investigation was among the reasons why conservative members of parliament voted for an impeachment motion to dismiss Rouhani’s minister of higher education Reza Faraji-Dana in August because he was apparently the first one who raised the issue.

The president later expressed regret over the vote and said while he respected the parliament’s right to impeach a minister, “I can’t hide my regret that we can no longer enjoy the services of a qualified and knowledgeable minister.”

Following the impeachment the president appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi, who himself had failed to obtain the parliament’s vote of confidence for the post of education minister, as caretaker minister of higher education.  Rouhani last Wednesday nominated Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi as new minister of higher education. Parliament is scheduled to hold a confirmation vote on the proposed candidate this Wednesday.     

  Acid Attacks

Elsewhere, Rouhani said the administration will vigorously pursue recent acid attacks on women in the central city of Isfahan, adding there will be “no mercy for the culprits.”  

He reassured the public that his administration will leave no stone unturned in examining all aspects of the “reprehensible” and “repugnant” acts.

Rouhani said, “The incidents were attempts to harm the country’s national security,” adding, “The administration will spare no effort to establish security in the society.”

The president also warned against making “baseless accusations” against any particular person or group before the real culprits are arrested.