Claim of 'dirty money' from drugs provokes uproar in Iran ahead of parliamentary elections

Iran's interior minister has claimed that politics in the Islamic Republic are tainted by "dirty money" from the smuggling of goods and drugs, provoking uproar ahead of crucial parliamentary elections planned for early next year.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has said twice in 10 days that illicit funds lead to corruption in politics including elections. He says the Iranian economy is tainted by 200 trillion rials ($5.9 billion) from drugs and smuggling.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday that Fazli should hand over his information to investigators and avoid expressing "unjustified misgivings."

Iran is set to hold parliamentary elections Feb. 26. They will be a key test for moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who is looking for his allies to win the majority in the 290-seat house.