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Nov 18, 4:02 AM EST

Iran parliament rejects Rouhani's minister nominee

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's parliament has rejected President Hassan Rouhani's nominee for the post of science minister over his pro-reform tendencies.

The conservative-dominated 290-seat chamber on Tuesday voted 171-70 against the candidacy of Fakhroddin Ahamadi Danesh Ashtiani. There were 257 lawmakers in attendance and 16 abstained from voting.

The vote is an indication of the increasing rift between the moderate president and his hard-line opponents in parliament - who are angry over Rouhani's decision to give ground to pro-western voices and reformists in the universities.

In October the parliament rejected Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi, another nominee for the same post; the same body dismissed former-Science Minister Reza Faraji Dana in August over similar allegations.

Ashtiani had worked as a deputy science minister from 1997-2003 under reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

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