Times Wire Reports

The head of an influential committee in Iran's parliament said he believes the nominee for defense minister will be approved despite accusations that he was involved in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The backing of the foreign policy and national security committee raises the likelihood that Ahmad Vahidi will be confirmed as defense chief by parliament next month.

His nomination by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered Argentina, which has accused Vahidi of playing a key role in the Buenos Aires bombing. The U.S., which has sought to reach out to Iran under President Obama, has also said Vahidi's presence in the Cabinet would be disturbing.

The chairman of the parliamentary committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said the allegations "will not have any negative impact on the assessment" of the nominee, who is currently a deputy defense minister. "Rather, it may increase his vote" in parliament, he said, rejecting accusations that Vahidi was involved in the bombing.

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