London – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for eradicating corruption in the judiciary, following tongue-lashing between his senior assistant Ali Akbar Natiq Nouri and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani over the exorbitant salary scandal.
Nouri said on Wednesday that the Iranian regime has regressed over the past 37 years, adding that it could no longer pretend to be a role model to other countries. He also accused Iran’s judicial authority of corruption, questioning whether the judiciary was abiding by the principles of Islam.
Bickering over Iran’s Judicial Branch corruption has emerged following information revealed by Larijani during a television interview earlier this week about the removal of 50 judges due to their involvement in corruption cases. Internal disagreements worsened when Nouri lashed out at Larijani, criticizing corruption, which made Larijani use a strong rhetoric against the supreme leader’s assistant.
Larijani said those who criticize the regime after 37 years had been regime officials and suddenly took an opposition role. He was implicitly pointing at Nouri, who served as parliament speaker from 1992 until 2000.
For his part, Khamenei said that the judiciary was under attack due to measures taken by judicial authorities to fight corruption.
He added that foreign media propaganda and the attack against the judiciary were the result of the “revolutionary, principled and clear positions taken by the Judiciary Branch chief and high officials.”
In this context, Khamenei said that revolutionary principles were not a form of extremism, implicitly replying to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had criticized Khamenei’s stance on revolution, describing it as a political attack against the current government. Rouhani said in earlier remarks in March that revolution should be translated in national unity and not in political rhetoric.
Meanwhile, concerns emerged in Tehran over the possibility to increase international sanctions against the Persian state, in the wake of Hezbollah’s announcement that it would use Iranian funding in response to U.S. sanctions on the military group.
Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said that the ministry was using all political and legal means to regain Iranian people’s rights in the wake of U.S. economic sanctions against Iranians. He added that the ministry was following up on a lawsuit filed by Iran at the International Court of Justice at The Hague over U.S. courts’ rulings.
Separately, Iranian news agencies reported Thursday that four Iranian bank directors have been removed from their posts in the wake of the exorbitant salary scandal.
Well-informed sources quoted by IRNA News said that government’s decision to sack the bank directors was made following a meeting with the supreme leader. They added that Rouhani’s administration was studying decisions to remove other officials in the near future.
The corruption scandal was rocked by a series of exposed summaries of bank accounts belonging to high-ranking officials being circulated online. Many senior executive officials employed at the institution responsible for managing state insurance and finances were being paid fifty times over the minimum wage set for government employees.
During a television interview earlier this month, Larijani admitted the removal of 50 judges in 2015 for their involvement in corruption cases.