Iran parliament debates new cabinet


The parliament in Iran has begun three days of debates on the cabinet put forward by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Fresh from the controversy over his own re-election, the president faces a few hurdles in getting his nominations confirmed. A cabinet will eventually be approved, but several of the candidates face rigourous questioning. Even the parliament speaker has criticised some for lacking experience.

The current Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, has that experience and is expected to stay in the job, but Fatema Ajorlu, the proposed welfare minister and Marzieh Dastjordhi as health secretary are seen simply as Ahmadinejad loyalists. The would-be oil minister, Massoud Mirkazemi, has already failed twice to join a government in Tehran, and is again seen as inexperienced in the vital energy sector.

Oil sales provide much of Iran’s national income, but Ahmadinejad’s critics say he has squandered that wealth and not raised living standards. The cabinet debate is seen as the latest test of the president’s hold on power.

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