Transport, Labor Ministers Survive Impeachment Vote

Offering a public apology for recent transport incidents, the minister said various authorities are involved in the sector, which is suffering from lack of funds, human resources and equipment
The recent crash of a passenger plane had been cited as one of the main reasons for the transport minister’s impeachment.The recent crash of a passenger plane had been cited as one of the main reasons for the transport minister’s impeachment.

Two ministers survived a vote of confidence called on Tuesday over the failure to tackle a range of issues in the transport and labor sectors.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi and Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei had been summoned before parliament to answer questions raised by lawmakers.

Out of the 246 parliamentarians present, 152 voted in favor of the roads minister after hours of debate about his track record, which has been criticized over a string of transport tragedies. Two lawmakers abstained, ICANA reported. 

In a separate session, the motion against the labor minister was defeated by 126 votes against 124 in the 290-member parliament. There were two abstentions and one vote was invalid.

***Public Apology  

In his address to parliament, the roads minister apologized to the people for the ministry's shortcomings and noted that their concerns over recent transport-related incidents are "justified". 

All officials should accept their mistakes and be accountable to the public, Akhoundi said, promising improvements.

However, he stated that more than one party is involved in the country's transport industry and the role of manufacturers, infrastructure developers, drivers, the police and relief workers in ensuring travel safety should not be ignored.

Lack of funds, human resources and equipment has also compounded the problems facing the sector, Akhoundi said.

On the February 18 air crash in central Iran, which took the lives of 66 people, he said it is not acceptable to blame a certain organization until the investigation is complete.

The crash of an ATR-72 twin-engine passenger turboprop operated by Aseman Airlines, which was traveling from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, had been cited as one of the main reasons for the minister's impeachment.

A preliminary report released on Sunday by aviation authorities blamed human error and the airline's negligence for the incident.

Akhoundi cited major investments in the expansion of the railway network across the country as one of the highlights of his time in office.

***Ending Poverty  

In addition, the labor minister defended his performance, saying that his ministry has taken a number of practical steps in line with the government's policies to help eradicate poverty and improve the welfare of all citizens.

Rabiei also highlighted his efforts toward bringing down unemployment, implementing programs that would lead to more sustainable employment and fighting corruption.

"I have taken appropriate measures through having good ideas and assembling a good team, but overcoming such problems requires the cooperation of all authorities, including the parliament," he noted.

Rabiei added that his tenure so far has been marked by significant achievements in the fields of health, insurance, training and education services.


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