Iran's parliament backs Ahmadinejad ally as FM

The lawmakers' verdict on Salehi is seen as a test of the president's support in parliament, after his disputed re-election in 2009.

 Iran's parliament backs Ahmadinejad ally as FM

Iran's parliament on Sunday narrowly approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's choice of Ali Akbar Salehi as foreign minister after his predecessor was abruptly sacked during an official visit to Africa last year.

The lawmakers' verdict on Salehi is seen as a test of the president's support in parliament, after his disputed re-election in 2009.

"Salehi secured the vote of confidence from the legislative body by getting 146 votes," parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said. Parliament has 294 seats and 243 MPs were present for the vote on Sunday.

"Today we need a very transparent, active, powerful and influential foreign policy," the president told parliament in an address.

He added: "Cooperation between the government and parliament is very important and, through this cooperation, we should disappoint our enemies."

Ahmadinejad wanted Salehi to be his foreign affairs chief when he became president in 2005, but factional pressures forced him to accept Manouchehr Mottaki, whose relations with the president were never smooth.

Mottaki is seen as a close ally of Ahmadinejad's conservative rival Larijani, who has publicly criticised the president's economic policies.

Salehi, appointed as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation in 2009, was opposed by some lawmakers who said he had little political experience.

With a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Salehi has played an important role in Iran's nuclear programme.

Born in Kerbala in Iraq, a city holy to Shi'ite Muslims, Salehi speaks fluent English and Arabic and, with his close ties to Ahmadinejad, might prove important in his new role.

"Salehi and the president share same views over many issues, including nuclear and foreign policy," a close relative of Salehi's told Reuters.

"I believe Iran can intelligently organise its diplomatic relations with the world ... We are ready to improve our relations based on mutual respect," Salehi told parliament.


Agencies

Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2011, 11:57
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