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16 August 2017

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08/09/2017 IRAN

Iranian President Rouhani presents his cabinet to parliament without any woman minister

Seventeen ministerial positions are filled out of 18. Key figures in the previous cabinet are re-confirmed, including the Foreign, Oil, Intelligence and Interior ministers. New picks go to Defence and Justice. Reformists criticise the lack of women members. Rouhani has surrendered to the pressure of the religious establishment.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who won a second term in May, submitted his list of cabinet nominees to parliament (Majlis) yesterday. The list includes his picks for 17 out of 18 ministries.

The nominee for the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology has yet to be presented to the Iranian parliament.

President Rouhani replaced eight ministers from the old cabinet.

Some of the ministers who retained their portfolios are Mohammad Javad Zarif as Foreign Minister, Bijan Namdar-Zangeneh as Oil Minister, Mahmoud Alavi as Intelligence Minister, Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi as Health Minister, and Abdul-Reza Rahmani Fazli as Interior Minister.

Some of the new names include Brigadier General Amir Hatami to head the Defence Ministry and Seyyed Alireza Avaie to head the Justice Ministry.

It was not clear when the nominee for the Ministry of Science would be named.

Separately on Tuesday, the Iranian president appointed Es'haq Jahangiri as his first vice president. Jahangiri held that same position during Rouhani's first term.

In May, Rouhani won re-election in a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote.

On August 3, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei formally endorsed Rouhani for his second term as president. Two days later, Rouhani took the oath of office in parliament.

Since the swearing-in ceremony, he had two weeks to present his cabinet to parliament for a vote of confidence.

The parliament will begin debating the nominees next Tuesday, with the Iranian president able to defend his cabinet picks.

Meanwhile Iran’s all-male cabinet has sparked criticism. Mr Rouhani is regarded as a relatively moderate figure, and supporters had hoped he would pick some women.

There has been only one female cabinet member since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The cabinet, which must be approved by parliament, also has no Sunni members. Sunni make up around 10 per cent of the population in Shia-majority Iran.

Mr Rouhani beat hardliner Ebrahim Raisi in the presidential election in May after vowing to improve Iran's civil liberties and rebuild ties with the West.

At a conference in February titled "Women, Moderation and Development," he called for greater female presence in politics and culture.

He focused on women's rights and promised equal employment opportunities and access to services if he was re-elected. Critics now accuse the 68-year-old cleric of breaking his pledges.

“How can you speak of equality of the entire nation and ignore women and religious minorities?” tweeted Mohammad Karroubi, son of jailed opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.

Analyst and experts believe the lack of diversity in the new cabinet is a sign that Mr Rouhani is bowing to pressure from Iran's religious establishment, mostly from Khamenei.

The Supreme Leader is the commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces, and dictates major policies in the Islamic Republic.






See also

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