Majlis confirms 3 ministers

August 6, 2008

TEHRAN - The Majlis on Tuesday voted to confirm the new interior, economy, and transportation ministers after hearing the views of their opponents and supporters and a defense by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Some 271 MPs attended the Majlis session for the confirmation votes.
Ali Kordan, the new interior minister, received 169 yes votes with 64 voting against him and 36 abstentions.
Shamsodin Hosseini, the new economic affairs and finance minister, garnered 217 yes votes with 29 MPs voting against his confirmation and 23 abstentions.
Hamid Behbahani, the new transportation minister, gained 181 yes votes, some 51 lawmakers voted against him, and 37 others abstained.
Ali Kordan was the only one who had to weather fierce attacks by some lawmakers.
MP Ruhollah Hosseinian questioned Kordan’s academic qualifications, saying Kordan falsely claims that he has a Ph.D. degree.
After hearing the views of the MPs, Kordan defended himself.
He expressed his thanks to the parliamentarians, saying their views “showed their sense of responsibility.”
Kordan then explained part of his plan, which he said would be “based on the Constitution, the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan, and the Twenty-Year Outlook Plan.”
He also denied charges about his academic qualifications, saying, “If I had known there are some doubts about my certificates, I would have submitted copies of my master’s and Ph.D. certificates to the representatives.”
He stated that he would consult with Majlis MPs and local officials for appointments of provincial officials.
The new transportation minister, Hamid Behbahani, defended his plan, saying that Iran can earn a lot of money through transiting goods.
Besides the oil reserves, Iran has been geographically blessed with the best transit routes, he observed.
“One of my plans is to develop the country’s roads.”
He also vowed to increase the safety of roads since Iran has one of the highest road accident fatality rates in the world.
Shamsodin Hosseini, who will be the new economy minister, said his main focus will be on taming inflation, reforming the banking and tax systems, and implementing Article 44 of the Constitution, which calls for the privatization of state-run companies.
He said inflation cannot be reduced in a short time but its “flames” can be lowered by adopting the proper trade policies to match the high oil prices.
He added that he would try to work closely with the Majlis and other state bodies