|Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech at Iran's Majlis (parliament) in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 15, 2013. Iran's Majlis on Thursday approved candidates that President Hassan Rouhani nominated for key posts in his 18-member cabinet. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
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TEHRAN, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Majlis (parliament) on Thursday approved President Hassan Rouhani' candidates for key posts in his cabinet while disqualifying three other nominees.
Iran's Majlis had started to study the qualifications of the 18- member cabinet line-up on Monday.
Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, who served as minister of energy from 1988 to 1997 and oil minister from 1997 to 2005, was endorsed officially as Iran's new oil minister.
Namdar-Zanganeh had been criticized by some lawmakers for his pro-reform position and "shortcomings" during his service as energy and oil minister (1988-2005), but Rouhani threw his support behind Namdar-Zanganeh Thursday in his concluding remarks before the lawmakers cast votes on the candidates.
Rouhani said that since the oil ministry is "sensitive" both domestically and internationally and the economy of his country is dependant on the performance of the ministry, so he has tried to choose the best candidate for the portfolio.
Iran's president urged the lawmakers to approve Namdar-Zanganeh, arguing that it would be "very difficult" to find an experienced nominee for the post if he is disqualified.
Meanwhile, Iran's former permanent representative to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif was approved as the new foreign minister. Zarif was Iran's ambassador to the UN from 2002 to 2007 and a member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team led by Rouhani from 2003 to 2005.
On Monday, Rouhani urged the lawmakers to endorse all of his candidates, saying that his proposed cabinet line-up had been drawn up on the basis of moderation discourse for which people voted in the presidential election in June.
The Iranian president dismissed criticisms about the average high age of his ministerial nominees, saying that his priority in introducing the candidates was their experience in serving at senior posts.
In choosing the ministerial nominees, he also took into consideration the people's demands in different sectors, including economic and social affairs as well as foreign policy, he said.
However, the conservative-dominated Majlis did not give votes of confidence to Rouhani's candidates for education ministry, ministry of science, research and technology as well as the ministry of sports and the youth.
Mohammad-Ali Najafi, the candidate for education ministry, and Jafar Mili-Monfared, the candidate for ministry of science, research and technology, did not receive the approval of the Iranian legislators mainly because they had associated with a defeated candidate in Iran's presidential election in 2009, who the conservatives call a "seditionist."
Mir-Hossein Mousavi, an Iranian reformist politician defeated in the presidential election, alleged at the time that the election results were rigged in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Masoud Soltanifar, the candidate for the ministry of sports and the youth, failed to gain vote of confidence in the Majlis because of his "irrelevant" experience for the post.
The Iranian president will introduce new nominees for the three posts to the Majlis in the near future. To be officially appointed as ministers, the new candidates should also be endorsed by the lawmakers' votes.
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