Iran’s former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, will now head the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and join president Hassan Rouhani’s administration as a deputy to the president. Interestingly, earlier in the week, Salehi also addressed rumors that the AEOI would be transferred to the Ministry of Energy and operate as one of its branches.
The debate in Iran’s parliament over President Hassan Rouhani’s 18-member cabinet nominations began earlier this week with conservative MPs accusing Rouhani of inviting “seditionists” into his cabinet who had a role in the 2009 election protests. The word “sedition” was used so often that Iranian social media users began tallying the number of times the word was used.
Since the beginning of the hearings, however, the atmosphere in parliament has calmed down considerably, and the word “sedition” was used far less frequently. There has still been strong objections to various nominations, however, both on the parliament floor and in Iranian media.
Prominent Reformist Saeed Hajjarian, who is often referred to as the main theoretician behind the Reform movement in Iran, has given a highly controversial and widely shared interview to hard-line Tasnim in which he claimed that the 2009 elections were not fraudulent but rather part of a “systematic deception.”
Some believe that Hajjarian, who is partially paralyzed after an assassination attempt reportedly by agents within the Islamic Republic, made these statements in response to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent request that those claiming fraud in the 2009 election should “apologize.” Hajjarian’s position in this Aug. 11 interview apparently drops the claim of fraud in the 2009 elections but expands the issue to the much more serious claim of election inequities within Iran.
Today, Iran’s parliament began debating President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet nominations. Although opposition websites had stated that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had twice reviewed Rouhani’s cabinet nominations before they were presented to parliament, today’s session was an opportunity for some hard-line parliament members to publicly air grievances, especially in regard to the 2009 election protests and the Green Movement.
Famous journalist and prominent politician Saeed Hajjarian, who is known as the one of the main theoreticians behind Iran’s reform movement, gave a rare interview to Reformist Bahar newspaper yesterday. Hajjarian stressed the importance of solving regional and sectarian issues with Iran’s Arab neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, while dismissing the importance of presidential trips to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
President Hassan Rouhani spoke briefly Sunday at his inauguration and addressed the importance of fighting corruption, having a government that’s accountable to the people’s needs and the importance of international relations based on mutual respect.