Iran General NewsCriticism of perks provokes uproar in Iranian parliament

Criticism of perks provokes uproar in Iranian parliament

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ImageThe Guardian: There are many ways for an MP to win over fellow parliamentarians but for Hasan Kamran, blowing the whistle on their cushy expenses was never likely to be one of them.

The Guardian

Robert Tait

ImageThere are many ways for an MP to win over fellow parliamentarians but for Hasan Kamran, blowing the whistle on their cushy expenses was never likely to be one of them. Kamran, a fundamentalist member of Iran's parliament, has been ostracised by colleagues after condemning handouts to them worth 1bn rial (£58,697) to buy a car and rent a home in Tehran.

The expenses, partly in the form of an interest-free loan, are given at the start of each four-year term in addition to the MP's estimated £6,000 annual salary.

Kamran, a supporter of Iran's populist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the semi-official news agency Fars that the perks showed the MPs behaved like nobility while millions of Iranians suffered economic hardships.

He suggested that many members never repaid the borrowed money and questioned their need for private cars when the parliament provided its own transport system. "The authorities should live like the people. When people see their leaders not living like them, they lose trust."

Kamran also criticised the parliament's speaker, Ali Larijani, for providing members with free fruit at the state's expense.

Furious MPs condemned him in a parliamentary debate and Larijani avenged Kamran's criticism by denying him the right to respond to the attacks.

That prompted an angry Kamran to brief journalists outside the chamber. The briefing was abruptly ended when Ghodratollah Alikhani, a reformist MP and cleric, approached Kamran from behind and covered his head with his robes before manhandling him away.

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