The rejection of three of Hassan Rowhani's cabinet ministers by the Majlis, which has been promoting the idea of its cooperation with the new administration and other current issues were the subject of Rooz's talk with former mayor of Tehran and the current secretary general of the Kargozaran Sazandeghi (Agents of Reconstruction) party Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi. He believes the rejection was because of the assembly's extremist and non-compromising nature. He was optimistic that Rowhani would replace the three without any harm to his agenda.
Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi (source: Aseman Magazine)
Here are the excerpts of the interview which throw light on the political situation and mood in Iran.
Rooz: The confirmation of the cabinet nominees is over. What is your take on Majlis's actions?
Karbaschi: It appears that all the factions have come to the conclusion that the past polices on the manner of running the country, foreign policy and economic policies must be changed, which is why Mr. Rowhani's nominees received an unbelievable confirmation, an unprecedented event even in the Islamic republic. The (destructive) events of the past 8 years could not stop even those hardline extremists who had negative views on some of the cabinet nominees.
Rooz: What about the three rejected nominees? In fact, the Majlis rejected the social composition of the cabinet.
Karbaschi: I think the extremist groups were more sensitive to these three nominees and they were more concerned about the youth, education and universities, which is reflection of the extremism of the Majlis hardliners. From what we hear, Mr. Rowhani will reintroduce new nominees for the same agenda that he has in mind and there would be no change in his goals or policies. It is unfortunate that Mr. Najafi was rejected despite his popularity and public appeal. But such events are natural in the democratic process.
Rooz: Rather than looking at the programs and plans of the three unconfirmed nominees, the Majlis was more concerned about what it calls the 2009 sedition, i.e. Opposition to the 2009 presidential elections. It seemed to be interested in getting some kind of confession in this regard.
Karbaschi: One is disappointed to see that instead of focusing on the issues facing the country, the Majlis unfortunately is locked on this issue. Those events were bad for both sides. The views that the extremists presented regarding the issues facing the country were not accepted by the more senior elements of the regime and the target of their attacks were not planning to overthrow the regime. Even after the public rejected extremist actions and views, some Majlis representatives still harbor these views.
Rooz: Was this rejected engineered by say the security apparatus? Mr. Motahari for example had talked of cooperation between some Majlis deputies and agents from these agencies and added that the confidential copies of the interrogations of a minister had been distributed among other Majlis representatives with the purpose of influencing their views.
Karbaschi: I do not have that kind of information, but Mr. Motahari must know what he is talking about. Some of what we hear may be engineered, which could be unlawful. It is the duty of the head of the Majlis to investigate this. Extremist groups have their own groupings and connections and act in an organized manner. I have heard that a letter had been provided for similar purposes by the mayor without the knowledge of the city council.
Rooz: There had been concerned about two of the cabinet nominees in the past, and you had supported them, one was for the interior ministry and the other for the judiciary. Do the concerns still exist?
Karbaschi: Mr. Rowhani's cabinet may be different from what you or want. Mr. Rowhani himself said it well when he said that the minister of justice had to be selected in coordination with the views of the judiciary and the Majlis and Mr. Rowhani has acknowledged this. The nominee has been a critic of Mr. Ahmadinejad's policies. In general we must judge the entire cabinet and its programs and plans. It is the president's prerogative to select his cabinet from various factions. Our demands from him are that he fulfill his campaign and post-election promises. Individuals come after that. Mr. Rowhani may even decided to bring in some people from the principlist camp or left leaning factions who believe in his moderation. The demands that we make are more important than personalities and choice of individuals. Our discourse is with Mr. Rowhani and his promises.
Rooz: Mr. Hajjarian has recently said that there had been no rigging in the 2009 elections. What do you think?
Karbaschi: The larger issue over elections is not new. Mr. Hajjarian has given it his own name and has expressed his own personal views. We were involved in those conversations with the Guardians Council and the party representatives for clarifying some issues, and saw that they produced no results. Today after the passage of some 4 years since the event, it is difficult to talk about it in very final terms. The point is that there were some serious issues in how the government machinery was used for the elections in 2009.
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