Key figures in Iran's new government

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's conservative-dominated parliament rejected three of the new president's 18 nominees for his Cabinet on Thursday but approved 15 others, including those heading ministries key to implementing his agenda to reduce the Islamic Republic's international isolation and improve its economy.

Hard-liners had attacked Hasan Rouhani's nominees for having Western educations and for being close to the opposition. But after four days of debate, they only rejected three — Mohammad Ali Najafi as Education Minister, Jafar Milimonfared as Science, Research and Technology Minister and Masoud Soltanifar as Sports and Youth Minister.

Here is a look at some of the 15 ministers who were approved, according to their resumes posted on the presidency's website.

Mohammad Javad Zarif is the new Foreign Minister. He did postgraduate studies at San Francisco State University and obtained a doctorate in international law and policy at the University of Denver. Zarif also raised his profile in the U.S. as a diplomat at Iran's U.N. Mission in New York during a five-year posting that ended in 2007.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the Oil Minister, also held that portfolio from 1997-2005. He was also Energy Minister in 1989-1997 and Agriculture Minister in 1989-1989.

Hossein Dehghan is Defense Minister. He is a former commander in the powerful Revolutionary Guards. Dehghan worked as deputy Defense Minister under reformist President Mohammad Khatami. He received a PhD in management from Tehran University.

Ali Jannati is Minister of Culture. Jannati is a former ambassador to Kuwait and the moderate son of a powerful hard-line cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati.

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli is Interior Minister. He is former head of the Supreme Audit Court.

Ali Tayebnia is Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. He is a professor at Tehran University.

Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, is Minister of Industry, Mines and Commerce. He is a U.S.-educated Iranian technocrat who holds a degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He has previously been Industry Minister as well as Deputy Oil Minister.

Hamid Chitchian is Energy Minister. He began his career in the Revolutionary Guards in 1979 and later joined the intelligence ministry. He has previously served as Deputy Energy Minister.

Mahmoud Vaezi is Minister of Communications and Information Technology. He holds degrees in electrical engineering from California State University, Sacramento and San Jose State University. He began his doctorate in foreign relations at Louisiana State University but finished the degree in Poland.