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Iran - new cabinet agreed

Woman minister endorsed by cabinet

Article published on the 2009-09-03 Latest update 2009-09-03 09:32 TU

The Iranian parliament in Tehran(Photo: Reuters)

The Iranian parliament in Tehran
(Photo: Reuters)

Iran’s first-ever woman cabinet minister has been accepted by the Islamic republic’s conservative-dominated parliament. The house on Thursday voted for 18 of the 21 members of the new cabinet proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Those rejected included two other women nominees and the nominee for the Energy Ministry, which was to be headed by the current Vice-President, Mohammad Aliabadi.

Woman nominee Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi is to head the Health Ministry. But Sousan Keshavarz, the proposed Minister of Education, and Fatemeh Ajorlou, the proposed Minister for Welfare and Social Security, were rejected, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said.  

Iranian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly for Ahmadinejad's pick for Defence Minister, with 227 MPs casting their ballots in favour of Ahmad Vahidi.

"I congratulate Mr Vahidi for getting the highest votes," Larijani said. The Defence Minister is wanted by Argentina for a 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.

Speaking after the vote, Ahmadinejad fired a message to world powers regarding its nuclear programme. He said Iran was ready for more sanctions and would not bow to pressure.

"No one can impose sanctions on Iran anymore. We welcome sanctions. We have given our proposed package," Ahmadinejad said, referring to a package of proposals that would form the basis of fresh talks with world powers.

An aide and Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, said the President would go later this month to the UN General Assembly meeting in New York "to encourage Iranian views in managing the world".

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