The Iranian parliament on Thursday rejected two of the three proposed female cabinet ministers and approved only Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi as Health Minister, the first-ever female minister in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.
The two other female nominees, Susan Keshavarz for
the social welfare ministry and Fatemeh Ajorlou for education, were rejected by the 286 deputies present at the voting. A third rejected minister was Mohammad Ali-Abadi, a close aide of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was nominated for the energy ministry.
The remaining 18 ministers were approved, including Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who got one of the highest votes despite protests from Argentina, where justice officials have accused him of taking part in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre, which killed 85 people.
The legislators shouted, "Death to Israel!" after the result of General Vahidi's vote was announced.
The parliament said earlier in a statement that due to the accusations against Vahidi and "Zionist (Israeli) propaganda", his nomination would not only be passed, but he would also receive huge support.
The statement had said that five ministers would be rejected, including Oil Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi, who was, however, endorsed with slightly more than the required votes.
Ahmadinejad has to now name caretakers for the ministries of education, energy and social welfare and introduce three new nominees within the next three months. The new nominees are likely to be the caretakers.
The nominees for key ministries - such as economy, foreign affairs, interior and intelligence - were all approved.
Ahmadinejad called on the parliament earlier Thursday to unanimously vote for his new cabinet to frustrate the West.
"Vote unanimously for all the 21 ministers and make not only the leadership [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] happy but also the enemies get frustrated," Ahmadinejad said.
The parliament evaluated the cabinet members for five days and voted for each of the 21 nominees. A simple majority was required for their endorsements.
The president accused the West of trying to expose differences between parliament and government and called on the legislators to neutralise this "plot" by a unanimous vote for all ministers.
"We are all one family and our job is to build the country," said Ahmadinejad, who won re-election in June.
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