Ahmadinejad submits a cabinet of acolytes

Ahmadinejad submits a cabinet of acolytes

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, facing a persistent opposition movement and rivals in his own conservative camp, submitted a list of proposed cabinet members Wednesday that would shore up his inner circle of loyalists and remove all the ministers who criticized him during a political confrontation last month.

The list of nominees, reported by Iran’s state news agency, must still be approved by Parliament in a vote of confidence later this month. There are signs that some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s choices will face resistance from lawmakers, who have been warning him for weeks to pick people on the basis of competence and not loyalty.

At the same time, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s ambitions for greater control over Iran’s complex power structure appeared to suffer a setback on Wednesday when the new chief of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, promoted one of the president’s critics to the powerful position of national prosecutor general. Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ejei, whom the president dismissed as intelligence minister last month after a bitter dispute, will become the nation’s top prosecutor, Mehr News reported.

Mr. Larijani also replaced other top judiciary officials, including the hard-line Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, replacing them with staunch conservatives who are not necessarily Ahmadinejad allies, Mehr reported.

Mr. Ahmadinejad submitted his new cabinet list just before the legal deadline, apparently in an effort to minimize the time legislators would have to review it. But the Parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, one of the president’s most prominent rivals (and a brother of Sadeq Larijani), postponed the Parliament session to vote on the nominees after it became clear that Mr. Ahmadinejad intended to push his announcement to the last moment. [continued…]

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