18 of Iranís 21 new ministers hail from Revolutionary Guards, secret police    Sun. 14 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 14 - The following is the final list of ministerial nominations presented by Iranís new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Majlis (parliament) on Sunday.

The list includes 13 ministers-designate who have been officers and officials in the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated paramilitary agencies.

At least five of the nominees have background in the notorious secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), and revolutionary prosecutorís offices, including the new cabinetís two Shiite clerics, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ezhei and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi. The latter was Deputy Minister in charge of MOIS for a decade, while the former was the chief representative of the judiciary in the MOIS for years.

The Majlis is scheduled to have a 40-hour debate on the nominations, beginning next Sunday. It will then proceed to vote on each nominee and is widely expected to approve all of them.

1. Minister of Foreign Affairs: Manouchehr Mottaki, 52, chairman of parliamentary foreign affairs committee, former Deputy Foreign Minister and ambassador to Turkey and Japan, former liaison officer between Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Foreign Ministry, former Vice-president of Islamic Cultural and Communications Organisation, an agency created by the Supreme Leader for export of Islamic revolution to other parts of the Muslim world. Mottaki has been hawkishly critical of
Iranís nuclear negotiations with the West

2. Minister of Defence: Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, 49, brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guards, joined IRGC when it was formed in 1979, took part in bloody campaign to suppress Kurds in 1979 and 1980, commander of IRGC operations in Lebanon, Palestinian territories and Persian Gulf states in 1980s, head of Military Industries Organisation

3. Minister of Intelligence and Security (MOIS): Hojjatol-Islam Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ezhei, 49, Prosecutor and Judge of Special Tribunal for Clergy, formerly Special Prosecutor in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, a founding official and member of staff selection board for MOIS

4. Minister of the Interior: Hojjatol-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, 46, in charge of Special Department for Security and Intelligence in the office of the Supreme Leader, former Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security, former Military Revolutionary Prosecutor

5. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance: Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi, 52, former deputy editor in chief of ultra-conservative daily Kayhan, former brigadier general in IRGC, former IRGC commander of southern
Iran, former director of Political Bureau of IRGC (for 10 years)

6. Minister of Oil: Ali Saeedlou, 41, long-time ally of Ahmadinejad in ultra-conservative Abadgaran faction, former deputy mayor of Tehran for finance and administration, replaced Ahmadinejad as interim mayor of Tehran after presidential elections, former deputy director of Defence Industries Organization affiliated to the Ministry of Defence, former chief representative of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (secret police) in the Ministry of Commerce, former staff member of the Supreme National Security Council

7. Minister of Commerce: Masoud Mir-Kazemi, 45, chairman of IRGCís Centre for Strategic Studies, chancellor of
Shahed University (set up exclusively for relatives of ďmartyrsĒ of the Islamic revolution), former logistics commander in Revolutionary Guards

8. Minister of Agriculture: Mohammad-Reza Eskandari, 46, head of Wheat Self-sufficiency Programme, a founding member of Jihad Sazandegi, affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

9. Minister of Justice: Jamal Karimi-Rad, 49, spokesman of the Judiciary, former revolutionary prosecutor in Zanjan and Qazvin provinces, director of Taazirat Department (agency for implementation of corporal punishment, including flogging in public, etc) in Qazvin

10. Minister of Transportation: Mohammad Rahmati, 47, Minister of Roads and Transportation in Khatamiís cabinet (the only incumbent in the new cabinet), former head of Universitiesí Jihad, a paramilitary organization affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards that recruited Islamists in universities, a former leadership member of Office for Strengthening of Unity (OSU), a key planner of the Islamic Cultural Revolution in 1980, when all universities were ransacked and shut down by Islamists in a bloody purge of dissident students and academics.

11. Minister of Welfare and Social Security: Mehdi Hashemi, 42, Deputy Mayor of
Tehran for districts, former commander in Revolutionary Guards, commander in paramilitary Bassij of IRGC, former engineering commander of State Security Forces

12. Minister of Industries and Mines: Ali-Reza Tahmasbi, 44, member of Majlis Research Centre, former senior officer in Jihad Sazandegi, former head of Jihad Sazandegi Research Centre, expert in ballistic missile development, former Revolutionary Guards officer in Khatam-ol-Anbia garrison of IRGC

13. Minister of Science, Research and Technology: Mohammad-Mehdi Zahedi, 51, hard-line chairman of Kerman City Council, former professor of mathematics in the
University of Shahid Bahonar in Kerman

14. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Mohammad Jahromi, 47, deputy chairman for executive affairs of the ultra-conservative Guardian Council, founding member of IRGC in Gilan and Mazandaran provinces in 1979, governor of Zanjan, Lorestan and Semnan provinces, former member of secretariat of the State Expediency Council

15. Minister of Energy: Parviz Fattah, 44, former Deputy Commander of Special Division of Revolutionary Guards, former board member of Revolutionary Guardsí
Imam Hossein University

16: Minister of Housing and Urban Development: Mohammad Saeedi-Kia, 59, chairman of Urban Planning and Development Corporation, former senior officer of Jihad Sazandegi (branch of IRGC), former Minister of Transportation

17. Minister of Education: Ali Akbar Ash'ari, 52, editor of the daily Hamshahri, which belongs to Tehran City Council (he was appointed by Ahmadinejad when the latter was mayor of
Tehran), former Deputy Minister of Islamic Guidance, former representative of Ministry of Intelligence and Security (secret police) in the Ministry of Education

18. Minister of Communications and Information Technology: Mohammad Soleymani, 51, former Deputy Minister of Science, former chancellor of University of Science and Technology of Tehran (UST), former head of Higher Electronic Research Centre, head of the IRGC-affiliated War Committee in the Ministry of Science and in UST in the 1980s (Ahmadinejad studied, taught, and founded the Islamic Association in UST)

19. Minister of Economy: Davoud Danesh-Jaafari, 51, chairman of Majlis committee on economy and finance, a leading member of hard-line Islamist faction, Abadgaran, in the Majlis, former member of Central Command of Jihad Sazandegi (a branch of Revolutionary Guards)

20. Minister of Health: Kamran Lankarani, youngest cabinet member at 40, radical Islamist head of
Namazi Hospital in Shiraz, former prosecutor in the investigative committee into medical malpractice in Shiraz, chairman of Islamic Association of Physicians in Fars Province

21. Minister of Cooperatives: Ali-Reza Ali-Ahmadi, 46, Ahmadinejadís presidential campaign manager, former leadership member of the Islamist student organization OSU, former fellow-activist with Ahmadinejad in the Islamic Student Association of University of Science and Technology, adviser to the Supreme Council for Islamic Cultural Revolution (which conducted a bloody purge of Iranian universities in the early 1980s), worked for some time in Imam Hossein University of the IRGC

Last week, Ahmadinejad appointed hard-liner Ali Larijani as Secretary of Supreme National Security Council and put him in charge of nuclear policy. Larijani, an IRGC brigadier general and former Deputy Minister of the now-defunct Ministry of Revolutionary Guards, will attend cabinet meetings and is expected to play a key role in the new government. He is a former director of state-run radio and television.