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Iranian Hardliners in Parliament Reject Rouhani's Nominee for Trade Minister

Iranian Hardliners in Parliament Reject Rouhani's Nominee for Trade Minister

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 - 08:00
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a session of parliament in Tehran, Iran, December 8, 2019. Official President website/Handout via REUTERS

Iranian hardliners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani's nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May.

According to the parliament's website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani's nomination for minister of trade and industries.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee.

There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.

The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively moderate Rouhani, The Associated Press reported.

Under the law, Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his cabinet in the next three months.

Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure from the US after President Donald Trump pulled the country out of Iran’s nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.

Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 331,000 confirmed cases and at least 18,800 deaths.

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