Source: Tehran Times
President Hassan Rohani appointed Mohammad-Ali Najafi the director of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) on Saturday. Najafi failed to receive a vote of confidence as education minister during the Iranian parliament's confirmation process for nominees for ministerial posts last week.
The CHTHO's new director, Mohammad-Ali Najafi, in an undated photo
Najafi, 62, was a reformist member of the current Tehran City Council. He was science minister in the administration of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the last prime minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989.
He served as education minister for two full terms in Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's administration from 1989 to 1997.
He also presided over the Management and Planning Organization in the administration of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, the reformist president of Iran from 1997 to 2005.
Najafi's appointment as the director of the CHTHO has received positive responses from a number of cultural heritage organizations.
The Society of Iranian Archaeology sent a message of congratulations to Najfi.
"Appointing an inexpert group to the CHTHO and their disregard of the capabilities and experience of the expert staff have inflicted serious damage upon the organization over the past few years," the society said in a message, which was published by some Persian new agencies.
The society stressed its readiness to support Najafi's plans to restore the CHTHO.
The Iranian branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) welcomed Najafi's appointment to the CHTHO in a press release on Saturday,
"This appointment offers a ray of hope for easing the deep concerns of cultural heritage lovers and experts about the mismanagement of the organization over the past few years," Iran's ICOMOS stated.
Iran's ICOMOS Managing Director Mehdi Hojjat was one of persons rumored to be selected by Rohani to run the CHTHO.
By law, CHTHO's director is a vice president and a member of the cabinet in every administration.
Five persons were selected by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to preside over the CHTHO during his two terms of administration. The first was his close controversial ally, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii.
Hamid Baqaii, Ruhollah Ahmadzadeh Kermani, Hassan Musavi and Mohammad-Sharif Malekzadeh were other directors of the CHTHO under Ahmadinejad.
Analysts have said that the CHTHO have been suffering from mismanagement over the past eight years.
In one case, Baqaii appointed Azadeh Ardakani, a microbiologist, to the National Museum of Iran, Iran's most important museum which keeps tens of thousands of artifacts.
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