Iranian Press: FM Kharrazi to Be Bumped from Cabinet, Mohajerani to Join
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi will be bumped from the new cabinet of President Mohammed Khatami in August, while former culture minister Ataollah Mohajerani will join the body, according to the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, quoting a press report Wednesday.
The reformist daily, Tose'eh, reported that Kharrazi would lose his seat in the new cabinet for what the daily called "weak expertise performance."
"Although Iran's foreign policy has registered eye-catching developments due to President Khatami, analysts have sharply criticized the foreign minister for his weak performance," Tose'eh said, cited by IRNA.
The daily did not say who would take Kharrazi's seat.
Meanwhile, IRNA said that former culture minister Ataollah Mohajerani had been invited to join the new cabinet.
The daily Abrar quoted Mohajerani's wife, Jamileh Kadivar, as saying that her husband had been "invited to serve as a minister in the new cabinet."
Mohajerani, a close ally of President Khatami, resigned last December after he came under fire from conservative opponents over his openness policies, patricularly regarding the press.
Tose'eh, in the meantime, noted that Khatami's economic record had been a target of criticism for a "lack of harmony among the ministries related to national economy."
"Over the past days, press reports have warned against smuggling of goods and immense rent-seeking in the country,” noted the paper.
"That could be a good reason for the replacement of Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari and Economy Minister Hossein Namazi," it said.
"Interior Minister Abdulvahed Mousavi Lari is expected to grab the seat from Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ahmad Masjed-Jame'ei (who replaced Mohajerani), and Higher Education Minister Mostafa Mo'in will replace Health Minister Mohammad Farhadi," it added.
Defense Minister Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a failed presidential candidate, will give his seat to little-known Brigadier-General Ataollah Bazargani, said the paper.
"Shamkhani is the first minister to lose his seat since in the run-up to the June 8 presidential polls (which gave Khatami a landslide re-election), [when] he revealed his opposition to Khatami's policies," Tose'eh said.
According to IRNA, a cabinet reshuffle is necessary in Khatami's new administration in order to keep up the pace of reforms and achieve the objectives of a national development plan.
Reformist MPs have ruled out the idea of forming a cabinet containing a spectrum of mainstream political parties, saying "merit" should be the criteria for choosing new ministers – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)