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Rouhani Defends His New Cabinet


Iranian President Hassan Rohani addresses the parliament in Tehran, August 15, 2017

Iran could leave its nuclear agreement with world powers “within hours” if the United States imposes any “new sanctions” on Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned on Tuesday.

Rouhani made the threat as the Iranian Parliament on Tuesday morning started a series of sessions to weigh the credential of his proposed ministers for the vote of confidence.

Immediately after these remarks, Rouhani started to introduce his seventeen ministerial nominees and defend their credentials.

In the proposed list, only the position of minister of “Sciences, Research, and Technology” is still undecided.

Compared to Rouhani’s first cabinet, half of his ministers are unchanged.

Following the presidential speech, ten MPs, five proponents and five opponents, will take the podium to speak for or against the nominees and the president’s plans.

Thereafter, voting sessions for each of the nominees will kick off.

If any of the proposed ministers fails to win a vote of confidence, Rouhani will have up to three months to name a replacement.

Regarding the nuclear issue, Rouhani also said at the televised session, “If America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions), Iran would certainly return in a short time - not a week or a month but within hours - to better conditions than before the start of negotiations”.

President Rouhani did not elaborate further and did not make it clear whether he meant a “new series of sanctions” or he was referring to “recent sanctions” that United States has imposed on Tehran.

Meanwhile, Rouhani downplayed his threat, reiterating that Iran seeks to remain loyal to its commitments under the deal.

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on six Iranian firms in late July for their role in the development of a ballistic missile programme after Tehran launched a rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit.

Furthermore, in early August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea passed by the U.S. Congress. The sanctions in that bill also target Iran's missile programmes as well as human rights abuses.

President Rouhani submitted the list of his all-male ministers to the Parliament on August 8, four days after his swearing-in ceremony.

In the speech Rouhani said that he wished to have three female ministers in the cabinet, but this is how it turned out to be.

“Weighing the nominees credential may take two to three days,” the spokesman for the parliament’s presiding board had said earlier.

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