Iran's Rouhani names replacements for rejected nominees

AFP , Sunday 20 Oct 2013

Reformists named to fill three ministerial positions rejected by conservative Iranian parliament

Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani named three new ministers on Sunday to replace nominees rejected by the conservative-dominated parliament in August, Iranian media reported.

Rouhani made a last-minute change to his pick for the science, research and technology portfolio for fear of a new rejection by MPs.

Interim minister Jafar Tofiqi had come under fire from hardliners in parliament for alleged involvement in the massive street protests that accompanied the controversial 2009 re-election of Rouhani's predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as for allegedly dismissing conservative officials at the ministry.

Reza Faraji Dana, who holds a PhD from Canada's Waterloo University and was unsuccessfully nominated for the same post under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, Ahmadinejad's predecessor, received the nomination in his place, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ali Asghar Fani, a reformist who was for a short period interim education minister under Ahmadinejad, was nominated for the education portfolio.

Reza Salehi Amiri, who worked for the Centre for Strategic Research, a think-tank linked to parliament which Rouhani headed from 1992 until his election as president in June, was nominated for the sports ministry.

Parliament will start voting on the three new nominations on October 27, the ISNA news agency reported.

In August, parliament rejected Rouhani's original nominees for education, Mohammad Ali Najafi, and science, research and technology, Jafar Mili-Monfared -- both considered close to reformists -- as well as Massoud Sontani-far, at sports and youth.

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