Lawmakers Welcome Changes in Cabinet

National Desk
Lawmakers Welcome Changes in CabinetLawmakers Welcome Changes in Cabinet

A decision by the government to replace three ministers has been met with positive reactions from parliamentarians.

The move to partly reshuffle the Cabinet came as a surprise to political circles, as only eight months are left from the term of the incumbent administration.

Iranian news outlets reported late Tuesday that Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ali Jannati and Sports and Youth Minister Mahmoud Goudarzi had tendered their resignations to the president as part of efforts to improve the Cabinet's efficiency.

This is while IRNA reported on Wednesday that Ali Asghar Fani resigned as education minister.

Mohammad Reza Aref, the head of the Hope parliamentary faction that comprises reformists and government backers, hailed the decision on Wednesday, hoping it will help the government better fulfill popular demands.

Aref, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an open session of the Majlis, said the decision could be made earlier.

"Personally, I believe it would have been better if the government had taken this measure several months ago. However, it is still good," Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.

Aref said the replacements should not plan for only the few remaining months of the government's term.

"Any new minister should have plans for the next five years," he said.

The tenure of the current administration, the 11th since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, will end in July 2017.

Iranian presidents are elected to a four-year term and are allowed to be in office for eight consecutive years.

Hassan Rouhani narrowly won the 2013 presidential race, after Aref, the candidate of reformists, withdrew in his favor.

He has not yet declared an intention to seek a second term, but such an announcement is highly likely, as all previous presidents who finished their first term have been reelected.

***Need for Competent Successors

Behrouz Nemati, a principlist member of Majlis Presiding Board, also praised the government's decision, but said it can have positive effects only if the two successors are "powerful and competent".

"We hope the president will not nominate some people who have been previously proposed to the Majlis but failed to win confirmation votes," he told ISNA late Tuesday.

Nemati said the government also needs changes in its economic ministries, as reviving the sluggish economy is the top priority of the country.

Considering concerns over the high unemployment rate and people's livelihood, "the public expects the government to focus more on the economy," he said.

There were speculations on Tuesday that Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Ali Tayyebnia and Industries, Mining and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh have also decided to step down from their posts, but ISNA reported an informed source close to the government as denying them.

On Tuesday morning, a motion for the impeachment of Fani had been announced in the parliament, in the second attempt to remove him from office and the first challenge for Rouhani's administration in the new, more government-friendly Majlis. The impeachment session was to be held next Tuesday.

Late Wednesday, the president issued a decree appointing Mohammad Bat'haei, Abbas Salehi and Nasrollah Sajjadi as caretaker ministers of education, culture and sports respectively.

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