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Could fraud allegations shatter Iranian parliament speaker's dream for presidency?

Fresh fraud allegations leveled against Iran’s powerful parliament speaker could mar his expected bid for the presidency next year, while exposing widening rifts within the conservative camp.

“He has to be constantly watched as he may commit some misconduct in any position he holds,” veteran conservative figure and current parliamentarian Mostafa Mir-Salim once said about Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, one of the most powerful politicians within the Islamic Republic’s ruling elites.

Earlier this month, Mir-Salim was back to haunt Ghalibaf, providing Iran’s judiciary with evidence implicating the parliament speaker in a massive bribery scheme that had been debated in 2017. Mir-Salim claimed that Ghalibaf had paid 650 billion Iranian rials (over $17 million if calculated on the market exchange rate of the period in question) to some lawmakers to drop an investigation into a separate multimillion-dollar property fraud case rooted in Ghalibaf’s 12-year tenure as the mayor of Tehran.

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