Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A few hours ago, Ahmadinejad submitted his list of ministers to the Majlis for vote of confidence (for further information on the names on the list click here).

Is this an 'ultra-hardliner' cabinet? Names such as Mohseni Ejehi (Ministry of Information [security]) and Saffar Harandi (Ministry of Culture) would make it hard to answer this question in negative. Mohseni Ejehi is particularly notorious for the role he played as the chief prosecutor of the Special Court for the Clergy in the imprisonment of Abdollah Nouri (Khatami's first minister of interior and an outspoken critic of Khamenei). Prior to that, in 1998, he was the trial judge of the court that convicted Gholam Hossein Karbaschi, Tehran's former mayor, on embezzelment charges - while it was believed Karbaschi was paying the price for supporting Khatami in 1997 presidential elections. Mohseni Ejehi is not an unknown figure among 'ettelaati's' [security officers]. He served in a variety of positions related to the Minsitry of Information in 1980's and 1990's. After leaving the Ministry, he remained a major player in coordinating security operations against dissidents through other security agencies (with their operation headquarters in Sepah and the Judiciary), called 'parallel security agencies'.

Saffar Harandi is another name on the list that sticks out like a sore thumb. He is a member of the editorial board of Kayhan the hardliner Tehran daily. He is a strong advocate of suppressing any opposition voice. So, the censorship office of the ministry of culture will become very busy once he takes office.

But how are the public reacting to this list? In fact, what surprises me is that people, generally, do not really seem to care about these developments. I asked a few people if they were in any way concerned about the names on Ahmadinejad's list, and they simply said no. People listen to the news passively. They are too preoccupied with making the ends meet to care about censorship or a Gestapo-like ministry of information.

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