Rouhani un­der fire for male-only cab­i­net

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

TEHRAN: Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani put for­ward a new cab­i­net lineup yes­ter­day that was im­me­di­ately crit­i­cized by re­formists for its lack of women or young peo­ple. The min­is­te­rial line-up, which must still be ap­proved by par­lia­ment, also lacked mi­nori­ties and ac­tu­ally in­creased the av­er­age age com­pared to Rouhani’s first term.

“The lack of women min­is­ters shows we are tread­ing water,” Shahin­dokht Mowlaverdi, Rouhani’s out­go­ing vice pres­i­dent for women’s af­fairs, told the Eta­mad daily af­ter news of the line-up was leaked. Many on so­cial me­dia said Rouhani, a 68year-old mod­er­ate cleric who whipped up re­formist sup­port to se­cure re-elec­tion in May, was fail­ing to keep his cam­paign prom­ises of greater di­ver­sity.

“The peo­ple’s mes­sage in the last two elec­tions has had lit­tle re­flec­tion in the pro­posed cab­i­net,” tweeted Mo­ham­mad Kar­roubi, son of jailed op­po­si­tion leader Mehdi Kar­roubi. “How can you speak of equal­ity of the en­tire na­tion and ig­nore women and re­li­gious mi­nori­ties?” he added. There were few ma­jor changes in the cab­i­net, with the key fig­ures in Iran’s ef­forts to re­build ties with the WestFor­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif and Oil Min­is­ter Bi­jan Nam­dar Zan­ganehre­tain­ing their po­si­tions.

Av­er­age age 58

The one sur­prise was the ap­point­ment of Mo­ham­mad Javad Azari Jahromi, a 35year-old en­gi­neer and by far the youngest ad­di­tion, who is set to take over as tele­coms min­is­ter. But even with his ap­point­ment, which puts an op­po­nent of cen­sor­ship at the heart of gov­ern­ment, the av­er­age age of the cab­i­net re­mains at 58. Sun­nis, who make up around 10 per­cent of the Shi­ite-ma­jor­ity na­tion, were also left out of the new gov­ern­ment.

Rouhani did re­place the de­fence min­is­ter, Ma­jor Gen­eral Hos­sein De­hghan, with his deputy, Gen­eral Amir Hatami-the first time in more than two decades that the post has been filled by some­one from the reg­u­lar army rather than the elite Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards. And the deputy econ­omy min­is­ter, Ma­soud Kar­basian, also re­placed his boss, Ali Tayeb­nia. An­a­lysts say Rouhani will stick with his gen­eral push to in­crease for­eign in­vest­ment and im­prove the man­age­ment of the stag­nant econ­omy.

Over the past week, the ex­pected lack of women has been a fo­cus of crit­i­cism by re­formists, who say Rouhani is likely bow­ing to pres­sure from the re­li­gious estab­lish­ment. In his first term, Rouhani did have three women among his large co­hort of vice pres­i­dents, who do not re­quire par­lia­men­tary ap­proval. —AFP

TEHRAN: Iran’s Pres­i­dent Hasan Rouhani, cen­ter, de­liv­ers a speech af­ter his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony for the sec­ond term in of­fice, at the par­lia­ment. — AP

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