Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 13:47 GMT

Moderate Iranian science minister ousted by parliament

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 20 August 2014
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Moderate Iranian science minister ousted by parliament, 20 August 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/54003f4110.html [accessed 27 July 2016]
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August 20, 2014

By RFE/RL

Iranian Minister for Science, Research, and Technology Reza Faraji Dana addresses parliament during his impeachment process in Tehran on August 20.Iranian Minister for Science, Research, and Technology Reza Faraji Dana addresses parliament during his impeachment process in Tehran on August 20.

Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani.

Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

A no-confidence motion against Dana was backed by 145 of the 270 lawmakers present, while 110 supported him and 15 abstained.

Opponents say Dana nominated people who took part in the movement that challenged the reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2009 for senior university department posts.

He was also accused of allowing students expelled for "moral and political reasons" to return to university and of tolerating student publications that question Islamic teachings.

Faraji Dana defended himself and said that some of the problems he had been dealing with were the results of past policies.

"In the past year, the universities have had the most healthy and cheerful climate," he said in comments quoted by the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

His dismissal underscored a rift between hard-liners and Rohani, who was elected last year on promises of greater openness and diplomatic engagement with the West.

Rohani has spoken in favor of more freedom at universities that came under intense pressure under the previous administration.

Earlier this week, conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari, who opposed the impeachment, said those behind the move opposed freedom of speech at universities, which they see as a threat to the Islamic establishment.

"The opening up of universities and students being able to express their views doesn't equal unrest," Motahari was quoted as saying by Iranian news sites.

Rohani, who traveled earlier today to Ardebil, nominated Mohammad Ali Najafi to oversee the Science Ministry while appointing Faraji Dana as his adviser on science and education.

In a speech to a group of clerics, Rohani praised the work of Faraji Dana and said that he was popular among students and university professors who had publicly signed several petitions against his impeachment.

But the Iranian president said everyone should respect the result of the parliamentary vote and comply with it in order to prevent differences.Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani.

Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

A no-confidence motion against Dana was backed by 145 of the 270 lawmakers present, while 110 supported him and 15 abstained.

Opponents say Dana nominated people who took part in the movement that challenged the reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2009 for senior university department posts.

He was also accused of allowing students expelled for "moral and political reasons" to return to university and of tolerating student publications that question Islamic teachings.

Faraji Dana defended himself and said that some of the problems he had been dealing with were the results of past policies.

"In the past year, the universities have had the most healthy and cheerful climate," he said in comments quoted by the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

His dismissal underscored a rift between hard-liners and Rohani, who was elected last year on promises of greater openness and diplomatic engagement with the West.

Rohani has spoken in favor of more freedom at universities that came under intense pressure under the previous administration.

Earlier this week, conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari, who opposed the impeachment, said those behind the move opposed freedom of speech at universities, which they see as a threat to the Islamic establishment.

"The opening up of universities and students being able to express their views doesn't equal unrest," Motahari was quoted as saying by Iranian news sites.

Rohani, who traveled earlier today to Ardebil, nominated Mohammad Ali Najafi to oversee the Science Ministry while appointing Faraji Dana as his adviser on science and education.

In a speech to a group of clerics, Rohani praised the work of Faraji Dana and said that he was popular among students and university professors who had publicly signed several petitions against his impeachment.

But the Iranian president said everyone should respect the result of the parliamentary vote and comply with it in order to prevent differences.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Mehr, and IRNA

Link to original story on RFE/RL website

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