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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 August 2005, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Iran leader presents new cabinet
Pam O'Toole
BBC News, Tehran

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praying during Friday prayers
Mr Ahmadinejad has defended his choices for the proposed cabinet
Iran's conservative new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has introduced his new cabinet to parliament.

He told parliamentarians that his 20 nominees were well qualified to do the jobs he has proposed them for.

Parliament will debate their suitability for the posts and vote on whether to approve each individual.

The list, comprised almost entirely of conservatives, has provoked criticism, with many alleging several are not qualified for their proposed positions.

President Ahmadinejad appeared to be trying to allay fears expressed by some parliamentarians about the experience and capability of his proposed cabinet.

MPs had expressed concern that many nominees were unknown to both parliamentarians and the Iranian people and had little experience in running large government departments.

'Friendly to friends'

The president said that in choosing his cabinet he had examined the background of more than 1,000 people.

He stressed that it was a cabinet whose members were in harmony with one another, and outlined why his nominees were qualified to do the jobs he had offered them.

He pledged to defend Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and outlined four basic principles for governing: justice, empathy, serving the people and morals and spirituality.

The principle of justice, he said, would also apply to Teheran's foreign policy.

Iran, he added, would be friends with those countries who were friendly towards it.

The president repeated his pledges to tackle unemployment, corruption and to distribute the country's resources more fairly.

The parliament is now debating the merits of cabinet nominees and will vote individually on each one.

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