President Rohani has made nominations to fill the last three open cabinet posts to the Majlis—but only after making one switch to avoid likely defeat in the Majlis.
News reports said Rohani had planned to nominate the three deputy ministers who have been the acting ministers the last two months. But one of the three has come under criticism among conservatives in the Majlis for being involved in the 2009 post-election protests. So, his nomination has been shelved.
But here is the irony. The man who won’t be nominated as science minister by Rohani was approved as science minister a decade ago. And the man Rohani is now nominating was rejected by the Majlis for that post a decade ago!
Here is the story:
Exactly 10 years ago, in October 2003, President Khatami nominated Reza Faraji-Dana to be the minister of science, research and technology. The name is a little misleading. The ministry chiefly oversees higher education, but it was given the misleading title to obscure that fact when the Khatami Administration wanted to give universities more independence.
But Faraji-Dana proved unpopular with the Majlis. It rejected him on an 86-127 vote with eight abstentions.
Khatami then came back with the nomination of Jafar Tofiqi-Darian. He easily won approval on a 163-27 vote with eight abstentions.
This month news reports said Rohani planned to name Tofiqi to the post once again. But conservative Majlis deputies complained that Tofiqi had been involved in the 2009 post-election protests. Fearing a royal battle over Tofiqi’s nomination, Khatami dropped it.
Instead, on Sunday he sent the Majlis the name of Reza Faraji-Dana, the man overwhelmingly rejected for the post in 2003. Faraji-Dana holds a doctorate from Canada’s Waterloo University.
The three names Rohani sent to the Majlis Sunday are to fill the three cabinet posts for which the Majlis rejected Rohani’s nominees in August. The other 15 were all approved, some with huge margins never before seen in the Majlis.
The other two nominees are:
• Ali-Asghar Fani, a Reformist who was briefly acting minister of education under President Ahmadi-nejad, was nominated as minister of education, overseeing K-12 education.
• Reza Salehi-Amiri was nominated to be minister of sports and youth. He previously worked for the Center for Strategic Research, a think-tank that Rohani headed for more than two decades before his election.
The Majlis has scheduled votes on the three for Sunday, October 27.