Sunday, April 13, 2008

Two Ministers Removed to Create More Obedient Cabinet

Government Spokesperson Was Unaware!

A rumor that was denied by the government spokesperson last week and dismissed as the ‎physiological warfare of the “enemy” came true and two more prominent cabinet ministers, ‎Finance Minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari and Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi were ‎removed from their cabinet posts. ‎

Although it has been reported that the two ex-ministers will be appointed to new government ‎jobs, what makes the news significant is their position. In effect, like Ali Larijani, who remains ‎on the National Security Council as the supreme leader's representative, and Farhad Rahbar and ‎Mostafa Pourmohammadi, former intelligence officers who worked at the office of the supreme ‎leader during Khatami's presidency, Danesh-Jafari also serves on the Expediency Council on the ‎direct orders of Iran’s supreme leader. ‎

Political analysts believe that, with the removal of the finance and interior ministers, only two ‎prominent figures remain in the Ahmadinejad’s administration: Minister of Intelligence ‎Mohseni-Ezhei and head of the Central Bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri. The other senior officials in ‎the administration are inexperienced and fully subservient to Ahmadinejad. ‎
Unaware Advisor ‎

Last week, government spokesperson Gholamhossein Elham, who is seen to be close to the ‎president, dismissed reports of the two ministers' removal as "April Fools' Day hoaxes" and ‎blamed administration's enemies for the “rumors”. But with a short piece posted on his weblog, ‎Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to cabinet-level changes thus implicitly confirming the rumors. ‎Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad's senior advisor Samareh Hashemi told reporters curious about the ‎news to wait a few days. ‎

Elham provided reporters with a thorough explanation about why he was unaware of the news: "I ‎was unaware of these changes until Sunday, even though rumors about possible changes were ‎published on some websites on Thursday. But in the long cabinet meeting on Thursday, which ‎lasted from morning till evening, the gentlemen who were the subject of the rumors were present ‎and very active… On Saturday morning I tried to briefly meet with Mr. President, like I usually ‎do before press conferences, but he was attending the meeting at the Expediency Council and we ‎were not able to converse on the phone either. In any case, the changes were not finalized by the ‎time of my press conference." ‎

The reaction of domestic publications to the news of the most recent cabinet changes was almost ‎identical. Tabnak website spun the most recent changes, implemented with fewer than 17 ‎months left from Ahmadinejad's term, as a move to "purify" the administration. ‎

Tabnak reported, "Though many described the ninth cabinet as the weakest cabinet in terms of ‎output, they viewed Danesh-Jafari and Pourmohammadi as more experienced; however, what the ‎two shared in common was their affiliation with one of the regime's centers [office of the ‎supreme leader], where they spent a lot of their time." ‎

Below is a list of some of the most prominent figures that have resigned or been removed by ‎Ahmadinejad:‎

Ali Larijani, top nuclear negotiator and head of the National Security Council;‎Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, Minister of Oil;‎Mahmoud Farshidi, Minister of Education;‎Farhad Rahvar, head of the Planning and Management Organization;‎Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr, deputy Minister of Interior in political affairs;‎Rahmani Fazli, deputy head of National Security Council;‎Ali Reza Tahmasebi, Minister of Industry;‎Ebrahim Sheibani, head of Central Bank;‎Mohammad Nazemi Ardakani, Minister of Cooperatives;‎Parviz Kazemi, Minister of Welfare; and ‎Jamal Karimirad, Minister of Justice (who died on the job). ‎

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