Iranian parliament approves new foreign minister

TEHRAN, Iran  — Iran's lawmakers approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's choice for foreign minister as the country's new top diplomat.
The vote in the 290-seat parliament passed with 146 lawmakers voting in favor of Ali Akbar Salehi. There were 60 votes against, 37 abstentions, and 47 lawmakers were not present during the vote.
The approval of Salehi, who is also heads Iran's nuclear chief, indicates the importance the country's nuclear program has for its diplomacy.
Before the vote, Salehi pledged "creative cooperation" on the international scene and "effective participation" in international bodies.
In December, Ahmadinejad unexpectedly fired his longtime top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki. The move prompted an outcry among lawmakers.