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posted January 04, 2001 10:03     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mohammad Khatami introduced five ministers to the parliament Wednesday, state-run Tehran radio reported, in a major Cabinet reshuffle his allies have said is a prelude to a re-election bid.

Khatami - who since his election in 1997 has been locked in a power struggle with hard-liners opposed to his reforms in the Islamic government - has not confirmed he will run in the June 8 presidential vote. But one of his close confidants, Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, said Tuesday that the Cabinet reshuffle signaled Khatami would seek re-election and try to continue his social and political reforms.

Khatami sent the names of the five new nominees to the Majlis, or parliament, for a vote of confidence. The parliament is expected to vote later this month on the nominations.

He named Ahmad Masjed Jame'i, formerly deputy culture minister, to the full minister's spot - replacing the hugely popular Ataollah Mohajerani, whose resignation last month was accepted by Khatami under immense hard-line

He also named Ishaq Jahangiri for minister of industry and mines, Ahmad Motamedi for telecommunications, Mahmoud Hojjati for construction and agriculture and Rahman Dadman for transportation, the radio said.

Khatami said in November that he had not finalized his decision to run the elections and added that he would assess the political climate and his own preparedness before deciding.

Khatami's political allies have said that the president has been exhausted by powerful hard-line opponents who have tried to stop his efforts to bring more political and social freedoms to Iran's tightly regulated society.

Islamic hard-liners control all unelected key institutions in the establishment, including the judiciary, military and the broadcast media. They continue to cling to power despite widespread opposition by a predominantly young population yearning for change.

Khatami has said that despite the difficulties, reforms were unstoppable.

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