Iran General NewsIran MPs warn Ahmadinejad on cabinet choices

Iran MPs warn Ahmadinejad on cabinet choices

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ImageAFP: More than 200 Iranian MPs have told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad he must have experienced ministers in his cabinet if it is to win a confidence vote in parliament, the ISNA news agency said on Tuesday.

By Aresu Eqbali

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — More than 200 Iranian MPs have told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad he must have experienced ministers in his cabinet if it is to win a confidence vote in parliament, the ISNA news agency said on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election in June set off the most serious crisis in the history of the Islamic republic, is due to submit his new cabinet next week after being sworn in for second four-year term on August 5.

"Your colleagues… must be practically committed to the constitution and leadership, have revolutionary spirit… adequate experience and expertise," the 202 MPs said in a letter read out in parliament.

The lawmakers said Ahmadinejad's ministers must meet these conditions if he wanted their "maximum cooperation and effort during the vote of confidence."

Ahmadinejad has already come under fire from within his own hardline camp over a number of controversial political decisions amid a deep crisis that has exposed rifts within the ruling elite in the Islamic republic.

Conservatives were furious after Ahmadinejad appointed a controversial aide as his first deputy and took his time in carrying out supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's order that he be sacked.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie eventually stepped down from the post of first vice president but conservatives were further irked when Ahmadinejad sacked the intelligence minister following a "quarrel" over Rahim Mashaie.

Since then hardliners have repeatedly warned Ahmadinejad to obey Khamenei, who pointedly refused to allow the re-elected president to kiss his hand at a ceremony to confirm him in office.

Ahmadinejad, whose new four-year term is expected to see a continuing confrontational tone with the West, has vowed to make "considerable changes" to his government, including appointing younger people.

He has also pledged to work to improve the economy, stamping out corruption and combating inflation running at more than 20 percent — a problem his critics say was caused by his own expansionist policies.

One leading conservative lawmaker Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam complained that Ahmadinejad was refusing to consult MPs about possible cabinet members.

"If he did so, it would certainly have a positive impact (in the confidence vote)," he was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

Ahmadinejad, 52, was criticised during his first tenure for frequently reshuffling the cabinet, sacking 10 ministers and two central bank chiefs, and for keeping on ministers who lacked experience.

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