(photo credit: AP [file])
The Iranian president has introduced his new ministers to the country's parliament, which must now approve them, state television reported Thursday.
The move is another sign that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to move ahead with his second term even as he faces challenges from opposition activists who continue to question the legitimacy of the June 12 elections and from conservatives in his own camp.
A parliament vice-speaker, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, told state television that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's list includes 18 names and was given to the legislative body late Wednesday.
According to the report, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will remain in his post, and Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has been nominated as the new interior minister.
Ahmadinejad named Commerce Minister Masoud Mir Kazemi as his new oil minister, a key position in the country. Some 80 percent of foreign revenue in Iran, the second largest oil producer in OPEC, comes from oil exports.
The vice-speaker said Ahmadinejad did not submit names for justice, commerce and defense ministers, but a report on the state television's Web site named General Ahmad Vahidi as defense minister. Vahidi worked as deputy defense minister in charge of research and development in the current administration.
The Internet report also named Morteza Bakhtiari, currently a provincial governor, as the new minister of justice and Mahdi Ghazanfari, a deputy commerce minister, as the new minister of commerce.
Ahmadinejad announced six of the ministers Sunday, but the rest were not publicly known. He also announced that three women would be joining the Cabinet, and specifically named two of the women.
The third woman is Susan Keshavarz, who has been nominated to be the new minister of education, according to the state television report. She currently holds the position of head of the ministry's department of disabled students.
If approved, the three women would be Iran's first female Cabinet ministers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought hard-line Islamists to power. Iran's last female minister, Farrokhroo Parsay, served from 1968 to 1977 as minister of education. She was executed on charges of corruption after the revolution.
The parliament will now hold one week of committee-level discussions on the ministers before holding a vote of confidence on each Cabinet minister on September 30.