Iran’s Parliament approved all but three of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 21 nominees for his cabinet on Thursday, handing a victory to the beleaguered president, who now has close allies overseeing the crucial oil, interior and intelligence ministries.
Iran’s new government will include Ahmad Vahidi as defense minister. Mr. Vahidi is wanted by Interpol on charges that he helped organize the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina in 1994 — charges that Iran says are part of a Zionist plot to undermine the government. The cabinet will also have its first female minister since the 1979 revolution, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, who will oversee health.
The results were announced after weeks of acrimony between the president, who initially questioned lawmakers’ right to second-guess his choices, and legislators who sharply criticized many of the nominees as inexperienced. Mr. Ahmadinejad removed from his cabinet all ministers who had questioned his harsh crackdown of post-election unrest and filled important seats with close friends and loyalists. [continued…]