New Higher Education Minister Named

New Higher Education Minister Named New Higher Education Minister Named

President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday proposed Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani to the Majlis as his fourth pick for minister of higher education nearly two weeks after parliament rejected another of his nominees for the controversial post.

In a letter to Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Rouhani announced the nomination of Danesh-Ashtiani according to the Article 133 of the Constitution.

Parliament acknowledged the receipt of the nomination letter on Tuesday. “The session for a confirmation vote is expected to be held next week,” Mohammad Dehqan, a member of the Majlis presiding board, told IRNA.

Dehqan said the ministerial nominee will have one week to present his plans to parliamentarians and discuss them at the meetings of relevant committees. Danesh-Ashtiani was born in 1955 and holds a Ph.D. degree in earthquake engineering from Imperial College London.  

  Chain Rejections

Parliament voted overwhelmingly against Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi on October 29.

Rouhani had named Nili Ahmadabadi nearly two months after the Majlis voted to dismiss then minister of higher education Reza Faraji-Dana.

The conservative members of parliament had accused Faraji-Dana of mismanagement, especially concerning the case of students expelled from universities.

An investigation into a case known as “illegal scholarships” awarded by the previous administration, which was launched after Faraji-Dana took office, was reportedly one of the reasons behind the motion to oust him.

Following the impeachment vote, the president appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi, who himself had failed to obtain the parliament’s confirmation vote for the post of education minister.  Lawmakers also denied a vote of approval to Jafar Mili Monfared, Rouhani’s original candidate for the post, following his inauguration as president last year.

Some parliamentarians have implied that Rouhani’s candidates were rejected by parliament partly due to their alleged involvement in the unrest which occurred after the 2009 presidential election or because they remained silent or failed to take a “proper stance” on the events that are referred to as “sedition”.