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Impeachment casts doubt on return of Iran student movement

The impeachment of Hassan Rouhani's science minister and the president's inability to protect him raise doubts about whether the student movement in Iran can return as Rouhani promised.
Iranian MPs wait for the results of impeachment of Minister for Science, Research and Technology, Reza Faraji Dana as other MPs (top L) count the ballots after voting at parliament in Tehran on August 20, 2014. Iran's conservative-dominated parliament voted to sack the science minister for wanting to recruit people accused of involvement in the 2009 protest movement. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI        (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Minister of Science, Research and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana was impeached after 145 MPs, out of the 270 present, voted in favor of impeachment. This came as a shock to many Iranian observers because prior to the impeachment session, it was believed that Faraji-Dana would receive a vote of confidence from the parliament.

However, things changed when, on the morning of Aug. 20, the Followers of the Leader faction (Rahrovan-e Velayat) decided that it would not follow any particular policy regarding the impeachment and that its members would decide individually on this issue. The management committee of the Followers faction had previously mentioned that it opposed the idea of impeaching Faraji-Dana. The impeachment motion was presented by the Endurance Front (supporters of hard-line cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi) and the Association of the Devotees of the Islamic Revolution.

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