Iran legislators warn they may block Ahmadinejad nominees
Critics accuse him of putting cronies in key positions
TEHRAN - Lawmakers criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nominees for his new government as inexperienced cronies and threatened yesterday to reject some of them, setting up another fight between the hard-line leader and rivals within his conservative camp.
Ahmadinejad is forming his new government while under a cloud from assertions by the pro-reform opposition that his victory in June elections was fraudulent.
But he is also under pressure from fellow conservatives, who have long criticized the president for hoarding power by putting close associates in key posts.
The president submitted his 18 Cabinet nominees late Wednesday to Parliament, which must approve the list. Most of the nominees were close Ahmadinejad loyalists or little-known figures, while critics of the president from his previous Cabinet were purged.
At least three nominees - the interior, intelligence, and oil ministers - had ties with the elite Revolutionary Guard, a powerful base of support for the president.
Swift criticism came from Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, the most prominent conservative rival of Ahmadinejad.
“Ministers must have enough experience and expertise, otherwise a huge amount of the country’s stamina will waste,’’ Larijani said, according to state radio. “A ministry is not a place for tryouts.’’
Ahmadinejad struck back, saying some lawmakers seemed to have an inflated sense of their own importance.
“Some talk on behalf of Parliament, while all lawmakers are equal,’’ Ahmadinejad said during a live question-and-answer session on state TV, without naming specific legislators.
Larijani appeared to focus on the nominee for intelligence minister - Heidar Moslehi - as too inexperienced.
“A security official should have a vision’’ and know how to deal with both security and political issues, Larijani said.
Ahmadinejad, a firebrand populist politician, clashed frequently with conservatives during his first five-year term. His critics complained that he was mishandling the economy .