Iran’s parliament dealt a blow to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president, on Tuesday by electing relatively moderate candidates to head the economy and interior ministries after forcing the government to drop its more radical nominees.
The two ministries are critical to Mr Ahmadi-Nejad in his last year in office as the president seeks to deliver on his promised populist economic policies and hold on to the presidency in elections next year.Analysts see the election of compromise candidates as another blow to the fundamentalist government, which is under mounting criticism for its economic management and an inflation rate of 26.4 per cent.“Mr Ahmadi-Nejad has had no choice but to retreat and give advantages to moderate conservatives, hoping that this could help him gain their support in next [year’s] election,” said one analyst.Shamseddin Hosseini, the new economy minister, won an overwhelming majority of 217 votes from the 290-seat parliament.
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Iranian ‘cult’ of imam sparks controversy
By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran - Published: August 17 2008
When President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad launched Iran’s first domestically built telecommunications satellite into space on Sunday, he did so in the name of the last true Shia imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi. The launch coincided with the end of festivities in Iran to mark the birthday of the imam, one of the holiest figures in Shia Islam, who is believed to have gone into hiding in the year 941 and will return to bring peace and justice to the world.