Iran Parliament again rejects President Rouhani's ministerial pick

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran's conservative-dominated Parliament on Sunday rejected President Hassan Rouhani's new nominee for the Sports Ministry, the media reported.

The rejection of the third nominee for the post came after Mr Rouhani, a reputed moderate who took office in August, cautioned against efforts to undermine his government.

"The Parliament does its duty within the legal framework, however the method is sometimes in a way that might be seen by ill-wishers as weakening or even undermining the government," Mr Rouhani said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

The nominee, Mr Nasrollah Sajadi, received 124 of the 253 votes cast, with 107 against and 22 abstentions, according to the state media. He needed at least half of the votes plus one to be approved.

Mr Sajadi, 62, was mainly criticised by lawmakers for lacking experience and "being old" for the portfolio, as well as "being close to the reformist camp".

After the rejection, Mr Rouhani picked Mr Mahmoud Goudarzi as his latest nominee for the post.

Mr Mohammad Dehqan, a member of Parliament's presiding board, said Mr Rouhani's remarks had "annoyed" the lawmakers, contributing to the snub, the Mehr news agency reported.