Iran's speaker tells MPs to stop 'creating a spectacle' and tone down anti-Rouhani rhetoric

The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, told parliamentarians to cool their rhetoric after two days of heated debate over the nominees for the cabinet of the president Hassan Rouhani.

TEHRAN // The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, told parliamentarians to cool their rhetoric after two days of heated debate over the nominees for the cabinet of the president Hassan Rouhani.

In a private meeting yesterday before the hearing resumed, Mr Larijani scolded MPs for finger-pointing and reminded them their debate was being broadcast live. He also asked them to stop constantly invoking the name of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The official Islamic republic news agency also chided legislators for creating a spectacle before "the watchful eyes of foreign media" and millions of Iranians.

Mr Rouhani has drawn criticism for picking too many people with western education or links to the anti-government protests that were violently suppressed in 2009. He has defended his choices as able and experienced.

Some of his nominees served under former presidents Mohammed Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose support helped Mr Rouhani win the election.

The debate about the nominees on Tuesday dissolved into a free-for-all after an MP denounced the proposed health minister, Hassan Ghazizadh Hashemi, and accused others of endorsing him only because he is rich. "If he was a poor minister-designate you wouldn't have backed him," said Nader Ghazipour. "You're backing him for his money."

MPs rushed to the podium to try to silence him, while others tried to calm them. Mr Ghazipour was only allowed to resume his speech after he apologised.

A day earlier, while speaking against another nominee, another legislator, Ali Mohammad Bozorgvari, called one of Mr Rafsanjani's sons a "thief".

The public disputes defy Ayatollah Khamenei's appeal after Mr Rouhani's June election for unity between top Iranian officials and politicians, IRNA said.

Mr Rouhani, who was inaugurated last week as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor, campaigned to repair Iran's international relations and revive the economy.

Parliament is to vote on the president's cabinet late today.

Published: August 15, 2013 04:00 AM

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