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Iran parliament fails to endorse labor minister nominee

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian labor minister nominee Mohammad Hadi Zahedi Vafa speaks during a vote of confidence at the Iranian parliament on October 4, 2022.

The Iranian parliament has failed to endorse a nominee for the country’s labor ministry , forcing President Ebrahim Raeisi to introduce a new candidate to take over the key government post.

Members of the Iranian parliament, known as Majlis, were split on a confidence vote motion launched on Tuesday to back Mohammad Hadi Zahedi Vafa who had been nominated by Raeisi to lead the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Security (MCLS).

Votes cast in Zahedi Vafa’s favor were 136 while 125 lawmakers opposed him, according to a report by the IRIB News which added that there were nine abstentions and two votes were dismissed. Iran’s parliament has 290 seats.

A report by the official IRNA agency said that Zahedi Vafa had narrowly won the parliament’s confidence vote in a first ballot but failed to get a majority after a vote recounting that was demanded by opposing lawmakers.

The IRNA criticized the parliament for failing to endorse Zahedi Vafa, an economist educated in Canada who took over as caretaker labor minister in early July after a former minister resigned under pressure from pensioners and government authorities. That comes as monthly pensions rose by 37% under Zahedi Vafa’s watch.

The MCLS is one of the largest ministries of the Iranian government that controls financial holdings and economic institutions. It was established in 2011 with the merger of three smaller ministries.

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