Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Iran's hardliners reject President Hassan Rouhani’s trade minister nominee

Politicians rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani made 'inflammatory' comments over the UAE's decision to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel. EPA
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani made 'inflammatory' comments over the UAE's decision to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel. EPA

Iranian hardliners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani’s nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May, despite the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.

The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively moderate Mr Rouhani. Under the law, Mr Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his cabinet in the next three months.

Mr Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. Mr Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.

Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 331,000 confirmed cases and at least 18,800 deaths.

Updated: August 12, 2020 02:59 PM

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