News / Middle East

Rouhani Defends Cabinet Choices in Iran Parliament Debate

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a debate in parliament on his proposed cabinet, in Tehran August 12, 2013.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a debate in parliament on his proposed cabinet, in Tehran August 12, 2013.
x
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a debate in parliament on his proposed cabinet, in Tehran August 12, 2013.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a debate in parliament on his proposed cabinet, in Tehran August 12, 2013.
Reuters
President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday he had chosen a cabinet to overcome Iran's economic crisis and diplomatic isolation as parliament began debating whether to approve his proposed ministers.

A relatively moderate, mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric, Rouhani took office on August 3 after scoring a landslide in the June 14 presidential election over more conservative rivals.

He has promised to combat high inflation and unemployment, pursue a more “constructive” foreign policy and allow greater social freedoms than hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rouhani, who won the support of centrist and reformist voters but who also has good ties to conservative insiders, said he had chosen a cabinet from across Iran's factions on the basis of their experience rather than political loyalties.

”Your vote of confidence in the ministers is not just a vote for the individuals, it is a vote for the whole government and its plans,” the Iranian president told parliament. Parliament is expected to vote on Rouhani's cabinet choices on Wednesday.

Many of his nominees are seasoned technocrats who served under centrist former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami. But conservative factions in parliament are likely to oppose some of his choices.

Though widely recognized as an experienced and capable manager, proposed oil minister Bijan Zanganeh is, according to conservatives, too close to pro-reform opposition leaders who protested against what they called a rigged presidential vote in 2009.

Zanganeh and Mohammad Ali Najafi, a technocrat picked for education minister, visited Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after the 2009 election to speak on behalf of the opposition leaders, who are now under house arrest.

Conservatives refer to the months of street unrest that followed the vote as a “sedition,” and reformists have been largely purged from powerful posts in the years since.

Ruhollah Hosseinian, a “principlist” conservative in parliament, predicted on Saturday that 80 percent of Rouhani's cabinet nominees would be approved, ISNA news agency said.

But he said the assembly would bar those “who made statements in parliament and did not distance themselves from the sedition.”
 
The shadow of “sedition”

Hossein Shariatmadari, hand-picked by Khamenei to edit the influential hardline daily Kayhan, wrote in an editorial on Monday that “the place for those who were present in the sedition is prison and not the ministry.”

Conservative member of parliament Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani said the house could not ignore “the issue of the 2009 sedition.” Facing Najafi, who along with other ministerial nominees was present during the debate, he asked: “Do you believe that what happened in 2009 was fraud or not?”

Ministers have not addressed the parliament, but have been meeting with lawmakers on the sidelines.

In a possible measure of support for the cabinet in parliament, Fars news agency said 148 lawmakers had requested to speak in favor of Rouhani's cabinet on Monday and 18 against.

In his speech, Rouhani said the oil ministry required “active diplomacy” and endorsed Zanganeh for the post.

Western sanctions imposed over Iran's disputed nuclear program have halved Tehran's oil exports since 2011, and its aging oilfields need crucial upkeep.

In addition to repairing the economy, Rouhani has pledged to improve Iran's image abroad, which was tarnished by Ahmadinejad's bellicose statements against Israel and questioning of the Holocaust.

On Monday, Rouhani said his government would pursue “threat prevention and alleviation of tensions” in its foreign policy.

His pick for foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is a U.S.-educated former U.N. ambassador who has been at the center of several rounds of secret negotiations to try to overcome decades of estrangement between Washington and Tehran.

Rouhani said he had known Zarif since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and called him the best man for the job, saying Iran needed a “completely aware, efficient and expert” foreign minister.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid