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New Health Minister Promises Commitments Will Be Upheld

File photo:IRAN -- Iranian President Hassan Rohani (Right) speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on December 25, 2018 as he presents his government's 2019-2020 budget, with a notice below his podium providing Christmas greetings to Christians

Iran’s parliament approved Saeed Namaki as Iran’s new health minister. With a landslidemajority of 229 votes in favor (out of 259)Namaki is the first non-physician to occupy the post. He has previously served as deputy chief of Iran’s Department of Environment.

During the parliamentary session Namaki said that “no previous commitments will be ignored.” Namaki also served as deputy head of Planning and Budget Organization. He is trained as a health safety expert.

The former health minister Hassan Hashemi resigned after plans for universal health care dubbed the “RouhaniCare” were shelved as the Iranian economy encountered strong headwinds in 2018.

In a speech posted on social media on January,3 Hashemi had said “The total money spent on health care is 164 trillion rials, while they spent 350 trillion on corrupt credit institutions." He was referring to banks and credit institutions that fail and the government has to either bail them out or pay the depositors.

Rouhani reshuffled his government late last year prior to the renewal of U.S. sanctions.