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Rouhani Set To Announce His New Cabinet

A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him (L) speaking during the swearing in ceremony of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (R) in Tehran on August 3, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was just sworn in, is set to announce his new cabinet on Tuesday, August 8.

According to the law, Rouhani is obliged to present his 18 ministerial nominees within two weeks from inauguration day.

The new administration, reportedly, is going to be an all-male cabinet, while Iranian women voters were one of the decisive factors in Rouhani’s reelection.

Rouhani has recently been under pressure by women's rights activists to bring in female ministers to his new cabinet.

Meanwhile, the conservative close allies of the Supreme Leader have repeatedly insisted that they prefer an all-male cabinet.

In a controversial interview with Iran Labor News Agency, ILNA, Interior Minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli asserted that Rouhani's team had not been able to come up with “a list of women qualified for heading a ministry”.

Women rights activists have branded Rahmani Fazli’s comments as “unfounded excuses” and “far from reality”.

However, it appears that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks set to remain as the only president in the Islamic republic, with a female minister sitting in his cabinet.

Nonetheless, some analysts believe that the possibility of being surprised by Rouhani’s final decision on the formation of his new cabinet, should not be overruled.

Parliamentary commissions have one week to debate on the credential of the nominees, having the right to summon them for more substantiation.

Then, Rouhani will be allowed to defend his nominees as well as his government’s program in two hours and a half, followed by five opponents and five proponents making statements.

In 2013, Rouhani’s nominees for Science, Education, and Sports ministries were rejected by the mainly conservative (principalist) parliament.

However, in the new parliament majority of MPs are leaning toward Rouhani.

Furthermore, many pro Rouhani forces are angry over reports that he has picked his new ministers in coordination with the Supreme Leader.

“As a rule, presidents pick two to three of their ministers in coordination with the leader,” outspoken Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi recently wrote on Twitter. “Yet Rouhani says he will select all of his ministers through coordination with the leader.”

Another vociferous Tehran MP, Ali Motahari, went further, explicitly opposing Rouhani’s rumored new approach.

“If that’s the case, all of the MPs will be reluctant to oppose any minister introduced to the Iranian Parliament,” he cautioned.

According to Iranian law, presidents are not legally obliged to receive the leader’s approval before nominating ministers.