Hours after Intelligence Ministry’s vague statement about “hostile media efforts to spread false news”, one of the ministry’s senior officials has come forward to defend President’s Rouhani’s pick for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, 36.
The vague statement read, “While the Iranian legislators have been discussing the credentials and backgrounds of the proposed ministers for the vote of confidence over the past few days, suspicious currents and hostile and anti-revolutionary media outlets are trying to disturb the atmosphere in the society by falsifying information and spreading accusations and false news”.
Dismissing the “hostile reports”, the statement maintained, “Such moves are aimed at inciting discord, leveling accusations against the Iranian government agencies and their personnel, and sowing seeds of sedition in society.”
The statement went further to dismiss allegations raised against, President Rouhani’s nominee for the position of Communication and Information Technology ministry.
However, the statement was so vague that a senior official of the Intelligence ministry was forced to step in and defend Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi in person.
The senior “assistant” of the ministry, who was not named, described Jahromi as an “honest incorruptible figure who “respects the rule of law”.
The assistant also stressed that Jahromi’s hands are “clean”.
The Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has accused Jahromi of interrogating several former political prisoners as well as monitoring and eavesdropping for intelligence purposes.
“Jahromi was an Intelligence Ministry director in charge of surveillance under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s second administration [2009-13],” said a source, who spoke to CHRI on condition of anonymity. “This has caused a lot of concern”.
On Wednesday, a former MP, Elias Naderan, derided Rouhani on his Twitter account by saying, “Are you going to create a free cyberspace by putting someone at the helm of telecommunications who has been deputy technical manager of the Intelligence Ministry?”
In response, Jahromi fired back by tweeting, “There is no General Directorate for monitoring and surveillance in the Intelligence Ministry’s structure. Moreover, technical office of the ministry has got nothing to do with political affairs.
Parliament will resume vetting the credential of the president’s nominees, on Saturday.