Iran MPs debate proposed cabinet

Society Materials 30 August 2009 10:48 (UTC +04:00)

Iran's parliament has begun a session to debate the cabinet proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, BBC reported.

With the president currently facing strong opposition inside Iran, some of his choices are expected to provoke stormy debate.

One of the most controversial areas is the appointment of three conservative women for the posts of health, education and welfare.

Their nominations are likely to be challenged by hardline clerics.

Analysts say Mr Ahmadinejad seems to have chosen a cabinet loyal to him but not necessarily more efficient.

He was re-elected earlier this year in polls the opposition say were rigged.

Hundreds of people were arrested in the wake of mass protests that followed the election. Many have been released but Iran is currently trying more than 100 detainees over their alleged involvement in the protests.

New names

Of 21 ministers proposed by Mr Ahmadinejad, there are 14 new names.

Speaking at Tehran University on Friday, he urged parliament to trust his nominations.

"In choosing the cabinet I have not considered my personal views... but I have only considered what is in the country's interest," he said.

The parliamentary session on Sunday began with Mr Ahmadinejad introducing his nominees ahead of the debate, state radio said.

BBC World Affairs correspondent Peter Biles says the main changes in the cabinet list suggest Mr Ahmadinejad is more concerned with domestic issues than the economy or foreign affairs.

Parliament will debate the cabinet over three days and vote on Wednesday.