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Opponents, proponents declare views about proposed cabinet team

Source: Tehran Times

In an open session of the Iranian parliament on Monday, legislators expressed their views about the 18 people nominated for ministerial posts by President Hassan Rohani. 

Shadow of 2009 Elections over 2013 Cabinet (source: Bahar daily, Tehran)
see high resolution

Following are excerpts of the texts of the speeches made in favor or against the makeup of the new cabinet as in its entirety as a group.

Claims that average age of proposed minister is high is unjust

Kazem Jalali, the head of the Followers of Velayat faction in parliament, described as “unjust” claims by certain MPs that the makeup of the proposed cabinet is like a ‘private joint stock company’ and that the average age of the proposed ministers is high.

He said the faction’s support to the cabinet is dependent on the fact that ministers follow a moderate approach, follow the path of Imam Khomeini, and obey the Leader.  

In assessing the qualifications of the nominees for ministerial posts the country’s current situation should be taken into consideration, the representative of Shahroud in parliament said.  “We are forming a new government in a situation in which we are facing serious economic problems both at home and abroad and also international problems,” the veteran lawmaker noted.

Jalali, who is also the head of the Majlis Research Center, said the price of foodstuffs has risen 62 percent and the average rate of the inflation if 42 percent. 

He added President Rohani has inherited a government which suffers from high liquidity, high unemployment especially among the educated, and that some industrial units are either being closed or not working at full capacity. He asked in such a situation what “managers” should be selected. “Do we have time for trial and error?”

He added certain persons who have been nominated for ministerial posts were insisting that they were not ready to take posts and it shows that they have a “proper understanding of the country’s issues” and are aware that taking over post in such a situation is a “very difficult” task.

The senior lawmaker also said it is quite clear that those who were involved in the “sedition” - a term used for protests that followed the 2009 presidential election - should not be allowed to enter the cabinet. But, he said, some MPs are behaving “unprofessionally” by accusing certain proposed ministers of supporting sedition.

Should some proposed ministers, who had been working at the campaign offices of the presidential contenders, be designated as “seditionists”? he asked. “Are they seditionists if they legally protested the result of election?”

He said seditionists are those who after the high profile speech by the Supreme Leader on June 19, 2009, and after a confirmation of the presidential election by the Guardian Council put the result of the election under question. 

I vote for 65-70 percent of nominated ministers  

Mohammad Ali Bozorgavari, an opponent of the cabinet makeup, said most of the proposed ministers are aligned with former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

“Rohani’s proposed ministers have been taken out of Rafsanjani and Khatami’”

However, Bozorgavari, a member of the Majlis principlist faction, said, “Despite the fact that I speak against some plans of the 11th government (the Rohani government) I myself vote for 65 to 70 percent of the cabinet (proposed ministers).”

He indirectly accused some proposed ministers of being seditionist, asking, “Why those who were on the side of seditionists and took people to the streets and then thugs clapped near the burned bodies of Basijis be in the cabinet.”

He went to say why if a person talks against sedition he is accused of being an extremist? 

Addressing President Rohani who was present in the Majlis, he said, “We are your friend. We thank you for persons who have been nominated for the posts of interior minister, intelligence minister, defense minister. The presence of persons such as Nobakht and Nehavandian (in the cabinet) is also praiseworthy because they are capable persons.”

Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, a trained economist and the chairman of Moderation and Development Party, has been appointed as vice president for planning and strategic supervision. Mohammad Nehavandia, the chief of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, has also been named the head of presidential office.

However, Bozorgavari said if Bijan Zanganeh, the proposed oil minister, get a confidence vote in parliament some persons like... whom he accused of being “robber” will find a chance for maneuver. 

Most proposed ministers are Western-educated 

Ata’ollah Hakimi, the representative of Roudbar in parliament opposed the proposed cabinet, said the majority of the nominated ministers are either sympathetic to seditionists or have been educated in the West.

 “Unfortunately, after the election some people who were seditionists and had no role in election and did not accompany you in any campaign visits attended your office. Some of these persons are theoreticians of the 2009 election,” he stated.

He added, “I have a question from Mr. Rohani. You have not forgotten that after the issue of your disqualification was raised (in the Guardian Council) you were very worried and you pursued the issue by seeking help from principlists and the dear families of the martyrs.” 

However, he said, after victory in the election “you left the door open to seditionists... but the children of Imam (Khomeini) and the Supreme Leader will not allow arrogant powers and the enemies of Islam and the revolution to dominate the country through the elements of sedition.” 

He said the makeup of the proposed cabinet is mainly consists of leading seditionists. He added if some people have not been nominated as cabinet minister they will later be appointed as advisors or will be given other posts.

He added Mohammad Javad Zarif, the nominee for post of foreign minister, is an exception who is ‘Western-minded’ and has been educated in the United States and should explain to MPs and the Iranian people that who were his supervisors in writing his theses in master’s and doctorate degrees. 

Rohani’s cabinet is like Rafsanjani’s 

Mehrdad Bazrpash, an MP representing Tehran, spoke against the proposed ministers. He said the average age of the cabinet nominees is over 60 and the “proposed cabinet of the 11th government is like the Hashemi cabinet.”

He said since the age of ministers is high ‘agazadeha’ (children of current and former officials) will take affairs into their own hands and “we will be witnessing a comeback of the behind-the scene elements.” 

Bazrpash said opposition to the proposed cabinet does not mean that there is an intention to undermine relations between the administration and the Majlis.

He also said, “The selection of some figures of the 2009 sedition for the 11th cabinet is a question for people.”

He said this is a cabinet in which groups have “share” in it and Majlis cannot ignore this. 

MP urges opponents to speak in logical way

Yunes Assadi, an MP representing Meshkin Shahr, spoke in favor the cabinet, calling on opponents to express their opposition to the cabinet in a reasonable manner. 

“Our expectation from opponents is that they speak reasonably and do criticism in a logical manner,” Assadi said. “We expect that respected opponents and proponents analyze (government’s) plans reasonably.”

If opponents had studied Rohani’s plans they would not have opposed proposed ministers 

If some opponents had studied the plans of the Rohani government they would not have opposed the makeup of the proposed cabinet, said Jalil Jafari who represents the people of Khalkhal in parliament.

Jafari said adopting “moderate” approach and taking decisions based on “collective wisdom” are the main characteristics of the proposed cabinet members.

Political conflicts will hit poor most

Ahmad Reza Dastgheib, the representative of Shiraz in parliament, defended the proposed ministers and said people through their massive turnout in the June 14 presidential election “smiled” to moderation and law-abidingness and welcomed “wisdom and hope”, the slogan of the Rohani government.

Dastgheib added, “All should know that political frictions will inflict the greatest damage to the country’s poor and youth.”

Most proposed ministers are professional and experienced 

Leading MP Ali Motahari said his support for the cabinet is the “expertise” and “experience” of the most proposed ministers.

He said the victory of Rohani in election as a moderate figure was a “gift” from God to the Iranian nation and therefore “we should not be derailed from the path of justice and moderation and (should) take the interest of the nation into consideration.”

He also said criticized a move by certain MPs who have made their confidence vote to cabinet conditional on the fact that proposed ministers take a “clear stance” about the 2009 sedition.

Motahari said since concerned bodies such as the Judiciary have given the necessary information about proposed ministers to the president setting this condition that ministers should declare their position on the 2009 sedition is not necessary, stating that it would be considered setting “political condition” for the president. 

He added if there is a fault against Mir-Hossein Mousavi - the defeated presidential contender who did not accept the result of the election in 2009 - is that that he did not abide by the law after the Guardian Council confirmed the result of the election.

“Even if he (Mousavi) said that I have protest (about the result of the election) but I obey the confirmation by the Guardian Council” there was no problem with him. 

He said this is not a matter of controversy that if a person had a complaint about something he is allowed to participate in demonstration in a peaceful way because according to the constitution attendance in demonstration is not banned so long as it does not undermine public security. 

“We should not behave in a way as if opposition is not ‘recognized’ in Iran, or behave in a way that it would send a smell of inquisition... or it is interpreted as if the principle of Velayat Faqih (the rule of supreme jurisprudence) is in contradiction with democracy.”

... Payvand News - 08/13/13 ... --

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