Iran's president defends Cabinet amid skepticism
Associated Press / NASSER KARIMI

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's president defended his proposed Cabinet ministers Sunday against accusations by lawmakers that the nominees don't have the necessary qualifications and are simply unquestioning loyalists.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance before parliament marked the beginning of what is expected to be a contentious confirmation process for the 21 Cabinet nominees that is scheduled to end with a vote on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad is forming his new government while still under attack by the pro-reform opposition which claims his re-election in June was fraudulent. But he is also under pressure from fellow conservatives, who have long lambasted the president for hoarding power by putting close associates in key posts.

Lawmakers from both sides criticized Ahmadinejad on Sunday for choosing inexperienced ministers, signaling the president may have difficulty getting parliament's approval for some of the posts.

"The majority of the nominees do not have the relevant education and experience," said reformist lawmaker Sadollah Nasiri in a session that was broadcast live on state radio.

One of his reformist colleagues, Mostafa Kavakebian, said that if parliament supports weak candidates proposed by Ahmadinejad when more experienced people are available, it "will be a betrayal to God, the prophet and all Muslims."

Most of Ahmadinejad's proposed ministers are close allies or little-known figures, w... >>>

recommended by Shifteh Ansari