Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad Names New Cabinet

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has named the new cabinet for his second tem. The ministers individually, and the government as a whole, need to obtain votes of confidence from Iran’s parliament, the Majlis. The vote of confidence requires a simple majority, but at least in case of few proposed ministers the outcome is unclear.

Among the ministers named:

Haidar Moslehi, intelligence minister. Mr. Moslehi is a cleric who has served as the representative of the supreme leader at IRGC, Basij and IRGC’s Qaemol Anbia base. Moslehi is a compromise candidate over the names recently put out by the conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad.

Mostafa Mohammad Najar, interior minister. IRGC Brig. Gen. Najar is currently Iran’s defense minister. Naming a uniformed IRGC general to a post controlling the country’s elections process with additional jurisdiction over the political parties and organizations and large gatherings is indeed very troubling.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, defense minister. Gen. Vahidi is a former commander of IRGC's Quds Force, an elite unit of IRGC operating outside Iran, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Vahidi had previously served as the IRGC director of intelligence.

Manouchehr Mottaki, foreign minister. Mr. Mottaki holds on his current portfolio amid calls for his replacement by some of Ahmadinejad’s supporters. His retention was perhaps the most surprising nomination.

Masoud Masoud Mirkazemi, oil minister. Dr. Mirkazemi is currently the minister of commerce.

There are also three women nominees: Dr. Sousan Keshavarz, education minister; Dr. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, health minister and Fateme Ajorlou, welfare and social security minister. This is the largest number of women ever named to the cabinet.

Ten of the 21 ministers have been retained from Ahmadinejad's first cabinet.

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