Iranian lawmakers weigh Cabinet decisions

July 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM
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TEHRAN, July 29 (UPI) -- Iranian lawmakers criticized the president for his Cabinet decisions while considering a bill to turn several government bodies into official ministries.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced major changes to his Cabinet following his disputed claims of victory in the June 12 presidential election. He moved to sack his intelligence minister while nominating Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, a closer adviser, to replace Parviz Davoudi as the first vice president.

The Rahim-Mashaei nomination sparked a major backlash from political and clerical leaders over comments he made in 2008 suggesting Iran was a friend of the Israeli people.

Iranian lawmakers said they would consider a measure to transform the Physical Education Organization into an official Ministry of Sport while breaking the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization and Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans' Affairs into separate ministries, state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

Rahim-Mashaei was the former head of the tourism organization before Ahmadinejad shuttled him to a top aide position following the row over the Israeli comments.

The 21 lawmakers who introduced the bill said they wanted more control over those government bodies.

Top Iranian lawmakers said earlier this week they could consider holding a vote of no confidence for the Ahmadinejad administration following the Cabinet-level shakeup.

Mohammad Hassan Saffar Harandi, the Iranian minister of culture and Islamic guidance, resigned from office following the sacking of Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Eje'I.

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