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Ahmadinejad faces MPs' accusations

Iran's parliament has begun to question President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over a long list of accusations, including mismanaging the nation's economy and challenging the country's supreme leader.

Mr Ahmadinejad is the first president in the country's history to be hauled before the Iranian parliament, a serious blow to his standing in a conflict pitting him against MPs and the country's powerful clerical establishment.

The summons follows a long-awaited petition by a group of MPs for a review of policy decisions by Mr Ahmadinejad, who has come under increasing attacks in recent months from the same hardliners who brought him to power.

Conservative Ali Motahari, a prominent opponent of the president, read out a series of questions to Mr Ahmadinejad in an open session of parliament broadcast live on state radio.

Some of the most hard-hitting focused on Mr Ahmadinejad's alleged defiance of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, over the choice of intelligence chief.

Mr Ahmadinejad resisted for 11 days an order from Ayatollah Khamenei to reinstate intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi who had been sacked by the president in April 2011.

The president was also asked about a dramatic increase in prices and his failure to provide a budget to Tehran's tube train system.

The MPs also asked about the government's allegedly accelerated austerity plan to slash energy and food subsidies.

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