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Iran Hard-Liners Reject Pres. Nominee  08/12 06:29


   TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian hard-liners in parliament on Wednesday voted 
against President Hassan Rouhani's nominee for trade minister in the first 
showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May despite 
the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

   According to the parliament's website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares 
Khiabani's nomination for minister of trade and industries.

   Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 
against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. 
The parliament has 290 seats.

   The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected 
house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively 
moderate Rouhani. Under the law, Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his 
Cabinet in the next three months.

   Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza 
Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure 
from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled America out of 
Iran's nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. 
Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.

   Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the 
coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 333,000 confirmed cases and at 
least 18,988 deaths.

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