Sunday, November 15, 2009

Iran Parliament Approves Last Three Ministers

Iran’s Majlis approved today the last three ministers in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 21-member cabinet after rejecting his original choices in September. Parliament voted to support Ahmadinejad's new candidates for the energy, welfare and education portfolios.

The nominee for the welfare portfolio, Sadeq Mahsouli, came under attack by MPs for mismanaging the detention of post-election demonstrators. He was the acting interior minister at the time, overseeing the elections and internal security.
"The interior minister is in charge of domestic security. Mahsouli was in charge when bitter events happened at the Kahrizak detention center and Tehran University dormitory," said conservative MP Ali Motahari [ILNA, 15 November].

A number of young detainees were tortured and some killed at Karizak prison, creating a widespread public anger as news spread of conditions in the jail. The government closed down the facility in July. [Kahrizak’s medial director committed suicide in Tehran on Saturday.] At the University of Tehran, government forces attacked the dormitory, killing and injuring a number of students. Close to 70 protestors were killed in the days after the disputed 12 June presidential election and thousands arrested. More than 100 people, including former senior officials in Khatami administration, lawyers, activists and students still remain in jail.

Mahsouli is a former IRGC officer and a close friend of Ahmadinejad. He had been a nominee for oil minister in Ahmadinejad's first term but withdrew after lawmakers criticized his lack of related experience and his wealth.MP Motahari repeated the criticism over the source of Mahsouli's wealth, accusing him of using his previous positions to acquire it.

"Such an enormous wealth would not accumulate naturally," Motahari said [ILNA, 15 November].

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