Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post
January 17, 2011

TEHRAN – An Iranian vice president has lashed out at parliamentarians who have accused him of involvement in an embezzlement scheme, raising the stakes in a months-long standoff between the government and its critics.

The Sharq newspaper, which is critical of the government, said Vice President Mohammed Reza-Rahimi had called prominent parliamentarians “sick.” Rahimi said those who leveled the accusations were trying to destroy President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, which he said is “itself is battling corruption.”

Iran’s judiciary said in December that it would investigate the charges, first leveled in parliament last year. The subject is being discussed in state television shows and in local media, with pro-government media denying any wrongdoing took place.

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