The court conviction of Industry Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, a close ally of the president, could give rivals further ammunition against Ahmadinejad. Mohsen Koohkan, a prominent hard-line lawmaker, said Monday that parliament will consider Mehrabian's conviction if Ahmadinejad tried to keep him in his post in the next government, as he has been expected to do. Parliment must approve the president's cabinet.
The case was sparked by claims by an Iranian researcher that Mehrabian had stolen his idea for an "earthquake saferoom" – a design for a fortified room in homes in case of disaster. A 2005 book, whose authors were listed as Mehrabian, an associate and President Ahmadinejad, detailed the design.
The appeals court upheld that the design actually belonged to researcher Farzan Salimi, several Iranian newspapers reported Monday. It convicted Mehrabian and the associate, Mousa Mazloum, of fraud. The court ordered the registration of the design to be taken from them and given to Salimi, but did not otherwise assign punishment. Salimi confirmed the ruling to The Associated Press.>>>
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