Iran`s parliament to decide on Rouhani`s cabinet line-up

Iran`s Majlis will meet on Monday to start vetting procedures for the proposed 18- member cabinet of President Hassan Rouhani.

Tehran: Iran`s Majlis will meet on Monday to start vetting procedures for the proposed 18- member cabinet of President Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani, who won June 14 presidential elections, unveiled the proposed list of nominees for his cabinet during his inauguration ceremony on August 4 in Majlis.

The list included eleven pro-reform or moderate figures and nine independents or conservatives in the proposed cabinet.

Faced with the pressure of conservative-dominated parliament, he will appear before the lawmakers on Monday to defend his choices for the ministerial positions.

Hardline legislators along with the conservative community of media have criticised Rouhani for reform-oriented composition of the next administration.

According to local media, some of the hardline legislators have urged the pro-reform nominees to renounce the "fraudulent claims," which said that 2009 presidential elections in Iran were rigged in favor of outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This would serve as a prerequisite for some of the reformist choices of Rouhani to receive vote of confidence from the Majlis, the conservatives suggest.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi, an Iranian reformist politician who was defeated in the 2009 presidential election, alleged that the results of the election were rigged in favour of Ahmadinejad.

In June 14 elections, Rouhani also enjoyed the support of articulative pro-reform camp and reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref withdrew in his favour.

Faced with the heritage of an ailing economy and troubled foreign relations, the Iranian president has vowed to mend Iran`s ties with the West and to revive the economy of the country which is dependant mostly on oil and natural gas sales.

The Islamic republic`s energy and financial sectors are under intensive pressure from the United States and its allies, who suspect that Iran`s nuclear program might aim at weapon-grade activities while Iran insists that it is only for civilian use.

To tackle the existing problems, Rouhani has proposed nominees for the key economic and political positions from the experienced technocrats, most of whom served as ministers or officials either under former moderate President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani or under Khatami in the past.

Among the proposed ministers, pro-reform Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh is the oil minister and he served as the minister of energy from 1988 to 1997 and as Iran`s oil minister from 1997 to 2005.

Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran`s former permanent representative to the UN and a member of Iran`s nuclear negotiating team led by Rouhani from 2003 to 2005, has been nominated for the post as foreign minister.

Last week, Rouhani appointed reformist politician Eshaq Jahangiri as his first vice president, expressing hope that he would fulfill his future duties in accordance with law and principles of "moderation."

The vetting procedures will be probably wrapped up on Wednesday evening when Rouhani`s cabinet line-up will be decided by the parliamentarians, according to semi-official Fars news agency.