In a break from tradition, Iran’s parliament has approved a cabinet that includes a woman minister. President Ahmadinejad’s new team contains a number of other appointments that have also raised eyebrows.
Ahmadinejad has lost some support in the conservative dominated parliament since his contested re-election. But he managed to secure key posts for his chosen nominees. He has urged the chamber to now show a united front to the world. “You know our enemies have tried to tarnish the national authority of the Iranian nation. I think the representatives of the people should give them a crushing response and leave them disappointed,” he said. The nomination of Ahmad Vahidi as defence minister has provoked an angry response from Argentina. It accuses him of involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish centre that killed 85 people. Tehran has repeatedly denied any link to the attack. In other appointments, Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi will become the Islamic Republic’s first female minister. Two other female cabinet candidates were rejected by parliament. Massoud Mirkazemi is the new oil minister, though critics say he lacks the required experience to do the job.