NewsSpecial WireIran’s new president charts hard-line agenda

Iran’s new president charts hard-line agenda

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Aug. 21 – Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday presented his 21-man cabinet to parliament and offered a raw mix of ultra-Islamist domestic policy, state-dominated economic agenda, and uncompromising foreign policy. Ahmadinejad urged the hard-line-dominated parliament to confirm his nominations with big votes “to give the ministers a good start as they begin their tasks”. Iran Focus

Tehran, Aug. 21 – Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday presented his 21-man cabinet to parliament and offered a raw mix of ultra-Islamist domestic policy, state-dominated economic agenda, and uncompromising foreign policy.

Ahmadinejad urged the hard-line-dominated parliament to confirm his nominations with big votes “to give the ministers a good start as they begin their tasks”.

Lawmakers’ debate on the new cabinet will last until Thursday. All the 21 ministers, 18 of whom hail from the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated institutions or the dreaded secret police, are expected to be confirmed, even though some ultra-conservative deputies have voiced strong opposition to Ahmadinejad’s choices for the ministries of oil, education, and co-operatives.

Ahmadinejad’s sharpest words today were reserved for governments that have economic ties with Iran, but oppose its nuclear program.

“Right now, we are importing billions of dollars from certain countries, while they’re not buying our products or our oil”, the new president told Majlis. “These countries must be grateful to us, because we are helping to revive their economies. Instead, they make demands and adopt a hostile posture against us on political issues”.

Ahmadinejad’s remarks clearly referred to Britain, France, and Germany, the three European governments that have been spearheading the nuclear talks with the theocratic state.

“They [the European trio”> are not willing to recognise our legitimate rights and use different pretexts, such as human rights abuses or other false accusations. They go so far as to expect to meddle in our internal affairs and force us to remain silent on the major issues in the region and in the Muslim world. They expect us to support the world order that they like. They take the lead, in collusion with international bodies, in condemning us. This is unjust and cruel”, Ahmadinejad said.

“Our beloved nation does not accept such behaviour on the international stage”.

In an indication that the new government will be using its oil power in a much more aggressive way, Ahmadinejad said that economic links were inseparable from political relations, including support for the nuclear program.

The new president’s remarks follow Iran’s rejection this month of a European offer to permanently suspend uranium enrichment activities in return for a package of incentives, including supplying Iran with nuclear fuel.

Reacting to Iran’s decision, the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution calling on Tehran to halt the conversion of uranium into gas at its atomic plant in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

Conversion is a step before enrichment, which produces material usable for both energy-producing reactor fuel and atomic bombs.

Iran rejected the IAEA resolution, which gives Tehran until Sept. 3 to halt uranium conversion or risk being referred to the United Nations’ Security Council for possible sanctions.

In his speech before parliament today, the new president was sharply critical of “ideas based on liberalism”.

“Liberalism justifies and openly supports all negative values. It doesn’t tolerate the role of religion in politics. It wants culture and economy without religion. In our society, this would mean saying farewell to everything. Our nations will not tolerate this. Let all the enemies of our nation know that our nation is valuable because Islam is valuable.”

Ahmadinejad highlighted the need to greatly enhance the enforcement of Islamic rules in society. The clerical regime’s efforts to apply strict religious rules, including women’s veiling and segregation of sexes, have alienated much of the country’s overwhelmingly young population and led to recurrent confrontation between security forces and disenchanted youths.

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