BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iranian lawmakers approved three new ministers on Tuesday, signaling support for changes in the cabinet of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani seven months before a presidential election.
State media reported that Reza Salehi Amiri, Saeed Soltanifar and Fakhredin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani won votes of confidence to take over the ministries of Islamic guidance and culture, sport and youth affairs, and education. Their predecessors resigned after Rouhani criticized them for inefficiency and succumbing to pressures from outside the government.
Rouhani allies won big gains in parliamentary elections in February, short of an outright majority but comfortable enough to pass his legislative plans.
Rouhani is expected to stand for re-election next year but may face a challenge from conservative rivals who believe Iran has conceded too much in a deal with world powers to limit its nuclear program, while failing to benefit as promised from a lifting of international sanctions.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)