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Iran approves hard-line cabinet: loyalty over experience?

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Lawmakers rejected only three of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s 21 nominees, a third of whom had been part of his first administration. Notably, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki retained his post, which is being interpreted as a sign that Iran’s hard-line approach to nuclear negotiations is likely to be upheld.

During the prolonged deliberation period, which began Sunday and was extended a day, Ahmadinejad confronted his opponents, particularly those who had criticized several key nominees’ ties to the Revolutionary Guard, according to Khabar Online. (For more on the Revolutionary Guard read the Monitor’s recent briefing.)

"If we accept this logic that a military figure or a member of Revolutionary Guards Corps cannot serve in the other posts, we will obstruct many ways,” Ahmadinejad said, pointing out that parliamentary speaker and former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was a member of the Revolutionary Guard.

Then, reports Khabar Online, an Iranian news website, Ahmadinejad’s tone became confused and furious. Calling himself a “self-sacrificer,” he lambasted those who had insulted him “in the most severe manner” – including implying that he was a puppet of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“For selecting each of these ministers, I firstly convinced myself and then I tried to find a clear explanation for my choices to present to the God Almighty," he said.

Here are the key ministers chosen by Ahmadinjad and confirmed by parliament:

Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi
A former deputy defense minister and chairman of the Expediency Council’s political and defense committee, Mr. Vahidi received the heartiest approval of all Ahmadinejad’s nominees.

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