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TEHRAN - Iran's embattledPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election unleashed the worst crisis in the Islamic republic's history, appealed to parliament yesterday to approve his new cabinet.
The conservative-dominated assembly is beginning a three-day debate on the ministerial nominees chosen by Ahmadinejad and will then hold a vote of confidence on Wednesday.
"I hope the majlis (parliament) will firmly approve all ministers and with a decisive vote it will turn the hopes of ill-wishers into despair," Ahmadinejad said as he introduced his cabinet line-up.
He said his victory in the June 12 election was confirmation that the Iranian people wanted his government to "continue on the same path" of his first four-year term.
Media reports say the debate is expected to be stormy, with Ahmadinejad facing a daunting task in securing a mandate for his line-up which includes several new faces, among them three women - a first in the Islamic republic.
The vote of confidence comes as Iran is gripped in political turmoil after Ahmadinejad's re-election triggered massive street protests that left at least 30 people dead and shook the pillars of the Islamic regime.
Ahmadinejad is under fire from his own hardline camp over several decisions he took soon after his re-election, and MPs are furious at him for not consulting them over his cabinet choices.
Iran's continued hardline stance over its nuclear drive and the regime's crackdown on election protesters has also further isolated the country from the West.
Ahmadinejad has kept five ministers in the same jobs, including foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
Current defence minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has been nominated as the next interior minister, while commerce minister Masoud Mirkazemi is Ahmadinejad's pick for the oil ministry in Opec's second largest exporter.
Sousan Keshvaraz, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi and Fatemeh Ajorlou have been proposed respectively as ministers of education, health, and welfare and social security.
Influential MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar has said that four to five men and all women nominees will not win the support of lawmakers. - Sapa-AFP