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After four days of debate and a lot of speculation, the Iranian Parliament finally voted on President Rouhani’s proposed Cabinet on Thursday night, approving 15 of the 18 Ministers.

That was a good outcome for Rouhani, after claims that “hard-liners” would block many of his selections, and there was even better news: of the three rejected Ministers, only one — proposed Education Minister Mohammad Ali Najafi — was a high-profile case.

Both Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi were approved, despite talk of their connections to “sedition” after the disputed 2009 Presidential election and to detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Reza Zarif, seen as a leading proponent of Rouhani’s engagement with the “West”, and Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia were approved by large margins. Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was confirmed without opposition.

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Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update

Ayatollah Movahedi Kamran delivered the Tehran Friday Prayer. I could not find anything of interest in it.

Rouhani Appoints Outgoing FM Salehi as Head of Nuclear Organization

In another key move on the political front, President Rouhani has appointed Ali Akbar Salehi, Foreign Minister from 2010 until this month, as Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Salehi replaces Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, who took a more confrontational attitude towards the West.

Rouhani has not yet named Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.