Hamid Sajjadi

The Iranian Parliament voted to reject Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice for sports minister today, the latest chapter in the dispute between the legislative body and the presidency.

Parliament voted 137 to 87 against Hamid Sajjadi, with 23 abstentions.

Some MPs cited Sajjadi’s lack of a concrete agenda for the ministry and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial letter of introduction as reasons for blocking his appointment.

Ahmadinejad had long resisted establishing a Sports Ministry but last week he was finally forced to acquiesce to Parliament’s demand, introducing Sajjadi, a former champion athlete, as his candidate for minister. However, in his letter of introduction to Parliament, Ahdmadinejad once again reiterated his opposition to the ministry itself, maintaining that it would prove detrimental to the Iranian sports community.

Many parliamentarians called the letter insulting and demanded that the president retract it and apologize.

Prior to today’s vote, Ahmadinejad appealed to Parliament on behalf of his appointee, saying: “Let us join hands to give all our support to Mr. Sajjadi to push ahead the ministry of youth and sports.”

After the MPs voted Sajjadi down, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani expressed hope that the president would soon introduce another appointee.

He added that Sajjadi is highly regarded for his athletic accomplishments; however, Parliament is looking for a candidate with more administrative expertise.

In addition to several medals that he won for his athletics, Sajjadi has a PhD in physical education and is currently the deputy chief of the Physical Education Organization.

Ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got into a dispute with Iran’s Supreme Leader over the dismissal of his intelligence minister, the conservative elite has taken every opportunity to resist his choices and decisions, highlighting the president’s waning power at every turn.