Iran moderates win parliament's backing

Tehran (Reuter) - Iran's parliament yesterday voted in all the ministers in the proposed cabinet of President Mohammad Khatami, giving the moderate cleric a strong start for his reform mandate.

Parliamentary deputies voted overwhelmingly in favour of all ministers despite fierce criticism from conservatives who had threatened to reject some controversial nominees.

It had been expected that Mr Khatami could lose two candidates - Ayatollah Mohajerani as culture minister and Abdollah Nouri as interior minister - after they came under fire in more than 15 hours of debate on Tuesday and yesterday.

The vote confirmed Kamal Kharrazi, Iran's ambassador at the United Nations, as the new foreign minister, navy commander Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani as defence minister, and Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, a Shia Muslim cleric, at intelligence (internal security).

It also confirmed Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who was a minister in charge of electricity and water, as oil minister of the world's third largest oil exporter and Hossein Namazi as the economy and finance minister, a post he first held from 1982 to 1986.

Mr Mohajerani, who had been sharply criticised by conservative deputies, received 144 votes in his favour, 96 against and 20 abstentions.

Parliament's vote of confidence on Mr Khatami's entire cabinet was seen by analysts as a major victory for the 54-year-old moderate Shia Muslim cleric who was sworn into office on 4 August after securing a landslide election victory in May.

The margin of votes indicated that he had won over a large section of the conservative-led parliament which he has to work with until the next parliamentary elections in 2000. The vote of confidence for Mr Mohajerani was seen as vital for Mr Khatami to carry out promises of bringing social and economic change to the 18-year-old Islamic republic.

Conservatives had directed their sharpest criticism at Mr Mohajerani as a "liberal" threatening the future of the Islamic republic and Mr Nouri for alleged disloyalty towards Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Mohajerani defended his right to be appointed to the cabinet saying he was tolerant in the same way that Islam was tolerant to different view points. "I disagree with almost all of the present practices in the culture ministry. We have to protect artists and provide an atmosphere for creativity, tranquillity and freedom." he told deputies.

"Everybody who has accepted the Islamic Republic and its constitution must be subject to tolerance ... I condemn the burning of book shops, the beating of university lecturers and attacks on magazine offices."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor