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Iran: Parliament approves two new ministers amid controversy over attack on Mousavi’s daughter - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, bottom center, speaks during a parliament session to defend the nominees for the three remaining ministries of his cabinet in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, October 27, 2013. (AP Photo)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, bottom center, speaks during a parliament session to defend the nominees for the three remaining ministries of his cabinet in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, October 27, 2013. (AP Photo)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A prominent Iranian legislator, Ali Motahari, has called on the country’s intelligence ministry and other authorities to launch an investigation into reports of an alleged attack on the daughter of reformist activist Mir Hossein Mousavi.

In an interview published on Sunday, Motahari told Qanoon newspaper: “First, I am going to send a written note to the intelligence minister about this case and then, if I don’t achieve a tangible result, [I] will summon him to Parliament.”

He added that the intelligence ministry should apologize to the family of Mir Hossein Mousavi and the Iranian people if it the allegations prove to be true.

Nargess Mousavi has claimed she was struck across the head and bitten by a security guard after refusing to be strip searched during an authorized visit to her parents’ house.

Her parents were placed under house arrest in 2011, after calling for mass protests in emulation of the events of the Arab Spring in Egypt and elsewhere.

The story was broken by the opposition Kaleme website on Friday and has been drawing the attention of Iranians across the political spectrum since.

An Iranian official had already promised an investigation into the incident on Saturday. But on Sunday, Iran’s police chief, Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam, told reporters that the police had not yet received any complaints regarding the incident.

“Anybody can make a complaint, and if there is a complaint [from Mousavi’s family], we will deal with it,” he said.

In other news from the Iranian parliament on Sunday, two nominees for ministerial portfolios in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet were approved in confidence votes, while one was rejected.

Since taking office in August, Rouhani has struggled to win approval for some of his cabinet choices from conservative legislators, suspicious of any signs of associations with reformists on the part of the candidates.

Rouhani submitted a new list of nominees to Majlis speaker Ali Larijani on October 19, to allow time for their credentials to be reviewed by Iranian lawmakers, after his original nominees to head the three ministries in question were vetoed by legislators.

Ali Asghar Fani became Iran’s new education minister, winning the vote of confidence with 185 votes in favor and 153 against.

The Parliament also approved Reza Faraji Dana as the Minister of Science, Research and Technology, with 159 votes in favor and 70 against.

However, President Rouhani’s choice for the Minister of Sports and Youth, Reza Salehi Amiri, failed to secure the Cabinet position, with 141 legislators voting against his nomination. Lawmakers cited his “mismanagement” in previous posts, as well as a possible role in the 2009 unrest, as reasons for his rejection.

This is the second time that Rouhani’s nominee for Minister of Sport and Youth has been rejected by parliament, with the first, Masoud Soltanifar, rejected in August on the grounds of “inexperience.”

The president now has two weeks to nominate another candidate for the top position in the ministry.

Addressing the Parliament ahead of the vote of confidence on Sunday, Rouhani said: “The administration will not succeed on its path and in its mission if the Majlis does not stand by the administration, and the administration by the Majlis, with full strength.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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