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EghtesadOnline: Lawmakers on Tuesday approved President Hassan Rouhani's nominees to take the helms of Education Ministry and the newly-established Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism.

Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei, the proposed education minister, received the nod of approval during an open session of the 290-seat parliament, which was held months after his predecessor Mohammad Bat’haei resigned to participate in parliamentary elections in February 2020, ISNA reported. 

Out of 255 lawmakers present in the legislature, 200 voted in favor of Haji-Mirzaei, while 48 voted against him and seven abstained. 

Ali Asghar Mounesan, who had been nominated for the Cultural Heritage Ministry, received 163 votes in favor, 87 against and 5 abstentions, according to Financial Tribune.

Mounesan had served as the head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, which was recently converted into a ministry. 

 

 

Heavy Responsibilities 

In a speech before parliament to urge lawmakers to vote for the ministerial nominees, the president said both the ministries shoulder heavy responsibilities and should be headed by experienced officials with a proven track record. 

He said Haji-Mirzaei has put forward very detailed plans to improve the performance of the Education Ministry, which is one of the most crucial organs in the country, in view of its contribution to national progress. 

The president also defended the educational and professional background of Mounesan and said he is the right choice to head the ministry, given his skills and expertise. 

"Preserving our cultural heritage, introducing it to the world and promoting our legacies inside and outside the country is the cultural duty of all of us," he said, adding that the tourism sector has great potential to create jobs. 

"A boost in tourism will not only attract investment in different sectors but also will increase employment opportunities." 

Rouhani also praised lawmakers as the "main supporters of the administration", saying that they have contributed greatly to Cabinet members' attempts to get over the rough patch created by renewed and toughened US sanctions. 

 

 

No Bilateral Talks

The president also ruled out direct negotiations with the US government, saying, "No decision has ever been taken to hold bilateral talks with the United States. Multiple proposals have been made, but our answer has always been negative." 

However, Rouhani said American officials can join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if "all" sanctions are lifted, regardless of "whether they return to JCPOA or not".

US President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the internationally brokered nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. 

Despite applying "maximum pressure" on Iran, Trump has offered to meet Iranian officials and hold bilateral talks with no preconditions to end the confrontation.

Rouhani said all the country's officials follow the policies and guidelines set by the Leader and will march ahead on a "united path".  

During the voting session, the proposed ministers elaborated on their qualifications and plans for their respective ministers and several parliamentarians spoke against and in favor of Rouhani's choices. 

 

Iran Hassan Rouhani Cultural Heritage Parliament Minister Education nominees Ministry of Cultural Heritage Education Ministry