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.
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).