Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared before his nation's parliament on Wednesday for an unprecedented inquiry into his economic and political management, the country's state news agency IRNA said.
Ahmadinejad is the first president to be brought before parliament over his rule since the founding of the Islamic republic in 1979.
Ahmadinejad was summoned by a group of deputies to answer charges that he has mismanaged the nation's economy, defied the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and attempted to loosen up Islamic rules on dress for women and on gender relations.
The list of accusations also include wasting resources on government handouts, with critics saying his withdrawal of food and fuel subsidies has resulted in rampant inflation.
The president gave a defiant and at times mocking defense of his policies and rejected attempts to embarrass him with questions. He also downplayed the significance of the questioning, saying it was the parliament's right and not out of the ordinary.
"I was ready to answer questions before the election," Ahmadinejad said, referring to recent parliamentary polls. "But I thought it might have an impact on election results and then I would be blamed for it. I am the easiest to blame," he said.
The summons follows a long-awaited petition by a group of lawmakers for a review of policy decisions by Ahmadinejad, who has come under increasing attacks in recent months from the same deputies who brought him to power.