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Khamenei And The New Cabinet


Iran's supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (L), in a meeting with Rouhani's cabinet on August 2016.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had no interference in selecting cabinet ministers, according to one of his official websites.

When it comes to picking cabinet ministers, “the leader’s only concern is their efficiency,” the July 28 statement insisted.

Furthermore, the statement has asserted that “Khamenei’s approach toward cabinets” has always been to fully support every administration.

It denied recent “widespread rumors” that Khamenei had personally been involved in “selecting every single minister” of the future cabinet of President Hassan Rouhani.

While the countdown for Rouhani’s second-term swearing in has started, a number of MPs have recently claimed they’ve heard the president will pick all of his future ministers in coordination with the supreme leader.

According to Iranian law, presidents are not legally obliged to receive the leader’s approval before nominating ministers. However, over the past several decades, it has become a tradition for presidents to consult the leader before choosing their cabinet members.

“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.

However, over the past several decades, it has become a tradition for presidents to consult the leader before choosing their cabinet members.

In the statement, the supreme leader’s official website tried to dismiss the precedent as a “rumor” made up by an “internal news trend” backed by “foreign media’s full-volume coverage.”

By mentioning "foreign media" in such a context, Islamic Republic officials usually make an indirect reference to the Persian services of VOA, BBC and Radio Farda.

Nevertheless, the statement admits that the supreme leader has a direct involvement in choosing persons to supervise the three key ministries of defense, foreign affairs, and intelligence.

Moreover, the statement highlights what it calls “the leader’s concern” for other ministries. “Regarding some ministries, including the ministries of science, education and culture, although the leader is sensitive, he does not interfere in the process of selecting them,” it said.

Pointing to Khamenei’s repeated recommendations for the government’s responsibility in resolving people’s economic difficulties, the statement maintains, “The wicked, who bear nothing but ill-will toward Iran and its people, have attempted to interpret such emphasis into the leader’s opposition toward the [Rouhani’s] administration.”

“Khamenei has strongly supported Rouhani’s administration in recent years,” it added.

Nonetheless, the statement clearly presents a guideline for Rouhani on how to select his next cabinet members.

Rouhani has not yet commented on the procedure for filling the 22 cabinet posts.

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