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BBC's Jim Muir
"Khatami's political opponents will clearly be glad to see him fail"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Parliament blow for Iran president
President Mohammad Khatami
Khatami: Personal plea failed to win support for nominee
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has suffered an unexpected setback after parliament rejected his nomination of a close supporter to a ministerial post.

Although Mr Khatami enjoys a large majority in parliament, MPs turned down Nasrollah Jahangarde because of his inexperience.


The nomination of Mr Jahangarde was rejected after factional differences emerged in the reformist dominated parliament

Mr Jahangarde was to head the post and telecommunications ministry. His nomination was thrown out by 127 members against 99.

There are also unofficial reports that one of the president's closest associates, the culture minister, Ataollah Mohajarani, has resigned.

Differences

The BBC correspondent in Tehran, Jim Muir says that the rejection of Mr Jahangarde is not exactly a humiliation for the president.

Nasrollah Jahangarde
Jahangarde's competence questioned by parliament
But it will please his political opponents, who will be glad to see Mr Khatami in difficulties with a parliament which supposedly supports him.

This does not mean that the conservative faction- which has only a minority in the chamber- has suddenly managed to muster more support.

The nomination of Mr Jahangarde was rejected after factional differences emerged in the reformist dominated parliament.

Mr Jahangarde had the backing of the biggest of the reformist groups, the Islamic Participation Front, which directly supports Mr Khatami.

But other reformist elements, notably a liberal clerical grouping, withheld their support.

During the debate questions were also raised about his competence.

Mohajarani's resignation

Ataollah Mohajarani
Mohajarani: Resignation not officially announced
There was more bad news for President Khatami following newspaper reports - not yet confirmed - that the minister for culture Ataollah Mohajarani has resigned.

Mr Mohajarani is widely credited by reformists for the flourishing of an outspoken liberal press, which has been largely stifled by the right-wing judiciary in recent months.

The conservatives have been pressing for his dismissal.

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See also:

10 Sep 00 | Middle East
Ayatollah's brother faces court summons
09 Sep 00 | Middle East
Reformist paper goes national in Iran
23 Aug 00 | Middle East
Iran embraces foreign business
20 Aug 00 | Middle East
Iranian police face universities ban
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