Iran’s new president, ultra-conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, presented this Wednesday its cabinet made entirely of men. The 19 ministers chosen by the president are of conservative tendency and with political and military experience. One of them, Ahmad Vahidi, who would head the Ministry of Interior, has already been repudiated by Itamaraty for his participation in the attack on the AMIA building on July 18, 1994. Since 2007, Vahidi has received a request to capture Interpol.
Raisi presented his list of 19 ministers in advance this later will have to be approved by the Iranian parliament, that he expected to receive the president’s nominations on August 14th. If approved, the office of the new president will be composed of Hosein Amir Abdolahian, 56, ahead of the Ministry of foreign relations. According to Iranian state television, it is about “A prestigious diplomat from the axis of resistance”.
The appointed chancellor is close to groups in the region that are allies of Tehran, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah. In addition, he is the author of articles on foreign policy for the website of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, featured in the local media. Abdolahain was Deputy Minister for African and Arab Affairs under the presidency of the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013).
Abdolahain held the post until 2016 under the presidency of Hasan Rohani, who in 2015 executed the nuclear deal that set limits on Iran’s nuclear program to prevent the development of atomic bombs in exchange for economic advantages. In 2018, former President Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions against his Iranian counterpart, severely affecting Iran’s economy by restricting its oil exports. In response, Tehran renounced most of the commitments that limited its nuclear program.
With the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden at the White House, talks may resume, as the US president has said he was willing to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Last April, in Vienna, Washington held indirect talks with Tehran and the the rest of the signatory countries of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Action Plan: China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. Although the discussions were paused until the inauguration of Raisi, who said that they will defend “national interests”.
Vahidi with extradition request
Meanwhile, Raisi named Ahmad Vahidi -who was also a member of former president Ahmadinejad’s office- for the post of Ministry of the Interior. The appointment of the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards and former head of the Defense Ministry between 2009 and 2013 was repudiated in Argentina by the commander’s participation in the attack on the headquarters of the Associação Mutua Israelita (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which left 85 dead. Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá described Vahidi’s appointment “as an affront to Argentine justice and the victims of the brutal terrorist attack against the Associação Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA).” In a statement, Itamaraty recalled that “Vahidi is denounced by the Argentine courts for having played a fundamental role in decision-making and planning the attack committed on July 18, 1994 in and on the AMIA building. Interpol arrest warrant. “
Oil and Transport
To the position of oil minister, Raisi named former National Gas Company executive director Yavad Ouvi. While the Ahmadinejad’s line of ex-employees continues with the appointment of Rostam Qasemi, former head of the oil portfolio, ahead of the Ministry of Transport and Urbanism. Qasemí was also the commander of a prominent Revolutionary Guard headquarters. It is also the case of Masud Mir Kazemi, former Minister of Commerce and Petroleum during the presidency of Ahmadinejad, now designated Head of Budget Organization and Vice President.
While the Iranian news portal Tehran Times published the full list of nominations. In charge of Ministry of Agriculture and Jihad, It was named Javad Sadatinejad, to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance It was named Mohammad Mehdi Esmaei Y Ezatollah Zarqami for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Tourism. The appointed head of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was Issa Zarepour, Amir Mohammadreza Ashtiani in charge of the Ministry of Defence, Ehsan Khandouzi in charge of Economy and Finance, Hossein Baghgoli in Education, Ali Akbar Mehrabian in Energy, Bahram Einollahi in charge of Health, Amin Hossein Rahimi in charge of the Ministry of Justice, Reza Fatemia in charge of Industry, Trade and Mining, Esmaeil Khatib in Intelligence, Hojat Abdolmaleki in Labor and Social Security, Zolfigol Mohammad Ali in the Science, Research and Technology portfolio and Hamidreza Sajadi in Sports and Youth.
Covid-19 in Iran
In the region, Iran is the country most affected by the pandemic, which also aggravated economic difficulties and generated demonstrations marked by social discontent. Raisi assured that the coronavirus situation demands that health measures are not postponed “not even an hour”. In the last 24 hours, 536 people died with the new coronavirus and 42,541 were infected, the last record of cases of daily infections, according to the Ministry of Health.