Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, August 05, 2013

Well, here's the new lineup

A new president and a new government. Will any of this matter?

Iranian President Is Sworn In and Presents a New Cabinet of Familiar Faces
The new president
Hassan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran’s president during a ceremony in Parliament on Sunday, after which he presented a new cabinet dominated by technocrats who had previously served under a moderate former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani…

By choosing to stock his cabinet with old hands from the Rafsanjani years, Mr. Rouhani appeared to be looking to a more moderate past to solve current problems and plan for the future, analysts said. And he showed that the former president would wield considerable influence in the new government…

Among the Rafsanjani protégés is the proposed minister of oil, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, who is widely regarded as the modernizer of Iran’s oil industry, having invited in Western companies to help carry out the work. The incoming minister of housing, Abbas Akhondi, held the same position during Mr. Rafsanjani’s tenure, from 1989 to 1997.

The proposed head of the influential Ministry of Industries and Mines, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, is a former member of the Revolutionary Guards who is now strictly opposed to involvement by that organization in the economy.

Mr. Rouhani’s choice for foreign minister, Javad Zarif, raised the most eyebrows. Mr. Zarif, 53, has lived half his life in the United States, is a fluent English speaker and served from 2002 to 2007 as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. He was also part of Mr. Rouhani’s nuclear negotiating team, which in 2003 struck a deal with European nations to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment.

“These appointments mean Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet is technocrat-dominated and geared towards changing domestic and international affairs, like what we saw during Mr. Rafsanjani’s time,” Nader Karimi Joni, a political analyst who has been critical of Iran’s leaders, said…

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