Iran’s Rouhani appoints reformist as VP

6th Aug 2013

TEHRAN, (Xinhua): Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani appointed reformist politician Eshaq Jahangiri as his first vice president, Press TV reported Monday.

Jahangiri, 56, was Iran’s former minister of industries and mines in the administration of ex-reformist President Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005.

Rouhani referred to Jahangiri’s “competence and his successful track record” in different executive positions, expressing hope that he would fulfill his future duties in accordance with law and principles of “moderation,” said the report.

On Sunday, after Rouhani was sworn in, he presented the list of his cabinet lineup for the endorsement of the Majlis (parliament).

Out of the 18-member cabinet nominees, eleven are pro-reform or moderate figures and the rest independents or conservatives.

Among the proposed ministers, Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh is the oil minister, and Iran’s former permanent representative to the UN, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, is the foreign minister.

Pro-reform Namdar-Zanganeh served as the minister of energy from 1988 to 1997 and Iran’s oil minister from 1997 to 2005, and Zarif was also Iran’s ambassador to the UN from 2002 to 2007 and a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, led by Rouhani, from 2003 to 2005.

The structure of the proposed administrative team of Rouhani, which is heavily weighted to the advantage of reform and change, received mixed responses from the Iranian media on Monday.

While pro-reform newspapers hailed the composition, conservative media outlets criticized Rouhani for disregarding the hardliners’ demands in choosing the ministers.

In the June 14 elections, Rouhani enjoyed the support of pro- reform camp when reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref withdrew in his favor.

Rouhani’s proposed nominees for the key economic and political positions are experienced technocrats and most of them served as ministers or officials either under former moderate President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani or under Khatami in the past.

Faced with the heritage of an ailing economy and troubled foreign relations, Iran’s new president will persuade the conservative-dominated parliament to give vote of confidence to the proposed ministers in the hope to tackle the issues and fight the existing problems.

In his inaugural speech in the Majlis on Sunday, he vowed to deal earnestly with the country’s social and economic problems and to interact “constructively” with the world to mend Iran’s global image and to seek a solution to its controversial nuclear program.

Vetting procedures for the proposed list of the president will start within a week, speaker of the Majlis, Ali Larijani, said Sunday.

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