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Behind the recent turmoil in Iran’s parliament

The turmoil in Iran's parliament stems from concern about the 2016 parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.
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Iran’s parliamentary session descended into chaos during the Jan. 11 speech of Ali Motahari, the outspoken member of the Iranian parliament. Despite his political identification as a conservative, Motahari reiterated his view that the ongoing house arrest of the Reformist leaders of the Green Movement, who have been confined since February 2011, “is in violation with many principles of the constitution.” In response, several lawmakers reportedly shouted “death to seditionists,” and approached the podium in an attempt to physically remove Motahari.

The issue that Motahari raised is one that few political figures — both Reformist and conservative — have an appetite to confront, given the consequences of doing so. In August 2014, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned President Hassan Rouhani and other officials that “issues pertaining to the sedition [mass protests after the disputed 2009 presidential elections and the emergence of the Reformist Green Movement] and seditionists are a red line that officials should adhere to.”

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