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Iran’s parliament starts debates on Rouhani’s cabinet picks



Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) has begun holding open-floor debates on President Hassan Rouhani’s nominees for ministerial posts, who need the legislature’s vote of confidence to serve in the new cabinet.

The parliament’s open session debating the candidates kicked off on Tuesday.

President Rouhani was present to defend his picks. He started with an outline of his plans for the next cabinet first. Five lawmakers will later speak in support of Rouhani’s agenda and five others against it.

Afterwards, the parliament will start debating the ministerial picks in an alphabetical order. One supporter and one opponent of each nominee, the nominee himself, and if necessary, the president again will give a speech.

In May, Rouhani won re-election in a landslide after securing 57 percent of the votes.

On August 3, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei formally endorsed Rouhani as president for the second term. Two days later, Rouhani took the oath of office at the parliament.

The Iranian chief executive presented a list of his proposed picks to head 17 out of 18 ministries to the legislative body for a vote of confidence on August 8.

Rouhani speaks of the past and the future

In his address to the parliament, President Rouhani both defended his policy achievements and briefly laid out his agenda for the future.

He talked prominently about a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rouhani said that the reason behind the United States’ moves against the JCPOA was that Iran had succeeded in restoring its rights and that America had failed to push its excessive demands.

‘US depriving itself of peace’

President Rouhani said those who are now seeking to re-impose sanctions on Iran were “trapped by illusions from the past.”

“Those attempting to return to a language of sanctions and threats… are depriving themselves of the benefits of peace,” he said.

He also referred to recent remarks by US President Donald Trump against the JCPOA and said, while Trump had been speaking of tearing up the deal in the past, aides who consider such a unilateral withdrawal from the deal to lead to the US’s isolation had now advised the US president to instead claim that Iran was in violation of the spirit of the accord.

This is while, he said, seven separate reports by the UN’s atomic agency have confirmed full Iranian compliance.

‘Regional issues have regional solutions’

The Iranian president also said that his administration would seek peace in West Asia through cooperation in political, economic, cultural, and security areas.

Stressing that regional issues only have regional solutions, he said, “As the region’s anchor of stability and security, Iran extends a hand for friendship to neighboring countries.”

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