Iran's parliament rejects 3 of the new president's Cabinet nominees, approves the remaining 15

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament has rejected three of the new president's 18 nominees for his Cabinet.

The approval hearings were seen as the first key challenge for Hasan Rouhani. He has vowed to improve Iran's foreign ties but hard-liners attacked his list of nominees for having Western educations and for being close to the opposition.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said that lawmakers rejected Mohammad Ali Najafi as Education Minister, Jafar Milimonfared as Science, Research and Technology Minister and Masoud Soltanifar as Sports and Youth Minister.

During four days of debates, lawmakers accused both Najafi and Milimonfared of playing a role in the unrest that followed disputed 2009 elections. Soltanifar was accused of being inexperienced.

Rouhani was elected in June and took office on Aug. 4.