Iran General NewsPresident Ahmadinejad nominates Cabinet of inexperienced cronies

President Ahmadinejad nominates Cabinet of inexperienced cronies


ImageThe Times: President Ahmadinejad faces a confrontation with Iran’s disgruntled Parliament after packing his proposed Cabinet with inexperienced cronies and purging it of critics.

The Times

Martin Fletcher 
ImagePresident Ahmadinejad faces a confrontation with Iran’s disgruntled Parliament after packing his proposed Cabinet with inexperienced cronies and purging it of critics.

MPs including Ali Larijani, the Speaker, warned that as many as 6 of the 21 nominees stood scant chance of being approved when parliament votes on his list in nine days.

Commentators said that the nominees reflected the President’s weakness after his re-election.

An analyst in Tehran told The Times: “He’s in defensive mode, there’s no question about that. He doesn’t have the strength, tenacity and confidence he had before.

“For him it’s imperative to surround himself with cronies and people who don’t disagree with him if he’s to have any chance of pushing through his programmes.”

The proposed Cabinet “largely consists of loyalists with a security background”, Gala Riani, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said.

Even before the turmoil of the past ten weeks Mr Ahmadinejad had few friends in parliamentbut Conservative MPs joined criticisms of the president for failing to consult them and nominating unqualified people.

“A ministry is not a place for apprentices,” Mr Larijani said. “Ministers must have enough experience and expertise, otherwise a huge amount of the country’s stamina will be wasted.”

Last month six ministers protested when Mr Ahmadinejad tried to appoint his son’s father-in-law as his deputy in defiance of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. All have been removed.

Mr Ahmadinejad has nominated three women but none is a champion of women’s rights, and two have little relevant experience.

“It’s good to see women rising,” said another MP, “but to see them picked up by a helicopter and placed on the top of a mountain doesn’t mean they climbed it.”

The nominee for Minister of Higher Education is Kamran Daneshjoo, the former election chief and close friend of Mr Ahmadinejad, who allegedly played a central role in rigging the June 12 election.

Other conspicuous members include the Minister of Housing, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, who ran the president’s office, and the Minister of Energy, Mohammed Aliabadi, who is related to the President by marriage.

The proposed Interior Minister is Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, a former Revolutionary Guards commander. His counterpart at the Intelligence Ministry is Heyder Moslehi, who has close ties to the Basij volunteer militia.

The Parliament is almost certain to reject Mr Ahmadinejad’s nomination of Masoud Mir Kazemi the former commerce minister, to the key job of Oil Minister. He has no obvious qualifications to run an industry which accounts for 80 per cent of Iran’s revenue, but has ties to the Revolutionary Guards.

The reformist camp has taken some encouragement from the Supreme Leader’s appointment of Mr Larijani’s brother, Sadeq Larijani, as head of the powerful judiciary, reducing the President’s influence there.

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