TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran's labor and transportation ministers narrowly managed to keep their job after a vote in parliament on Tuesday following a motion to fire them over allegations of mismanagement.
Out of 253 lawmakers present at the session, 124 voted to keep Ali Rabiei while 126 voted to fire him and two abstained. One vote was made void because it was late. The chamber has 290 seats.
Under procedural regulations, abstentions in parliament are counted as an in-favor vote, hence Rabiei kept his post.
Rabiei's opponents said his management caused many people to lose their jobs, saying he was responsible for unemployment rising to about 12%.
Lawmakers also criticized Rabiei for the collision of a tanker that burned and sank off the coast of China, killing 30 sailors in January. The Labor Ministry manages some 60% of the tanker company.
His defenders, however, said not all the accusations were directly related to his ministry.
In the afternoon session, lawmakers heard about Transportation Minister Abbas Akhundi and his allegedly poor management, as well as high death rates in traffic accidents in Iran.
He attended an open session of the parliament for his third impeachment since he took the helm in August 2013.
Out of a total 246 lawmakers present at the session, 92 MPs voted to oust him against 152 parliament members who opted to keep him in the portfolio, with two others abstaining.
Several cabinet members, including First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Culture Minister Abbas Salehi and head of the Department of Environment Isa Kalantari accompanied Akhundi at the hearing.
The embattled minister was grilled over a number of issues including a passenger plane crash that killed all 66 people on board in the southwestern city of Yasuj on February 18, 2018.
The lawmakers are also expected to impeach Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati on Wednesday.
He is to be questioned regarding his performance in regulating the market for agricultural produce, addressing the problems facing the factories processing sugar cane, and his alleged recruitment of retired managers.