On August 8, President Hassan Rouhani submitted to Parliament the names of 17 men for ministerial posts in his new cabinet. Two key figures — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was responsible for negotiating the nuclear deal, and Oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who has upped oil production following the lifting of sanctions — retained their positions. About half of the cabinet has been replaced, but deputies replaced their superiors in several cases, suggesting continuity in policy.
One noteworthy change was the replacement of Defense Minister Major General Hossein Dehghan with his deputy, General Amir Hatami. If confirmed, Hatami will be the first defense minister from the regular army in more than two decades. The others have been members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.
Reformists criticized the president for not including any women despite campaign rhetoric focusing on diversity and women’s rights. Rouhani named two women as vice presidents — Masoumeh Ebtekar as vice president for women and family affairs and Laaya Joneidi as vice president for legal affairs. He also named Shahindokht Molaverdi as Assistant to the President on Citizenship Rights. But vice presidents and assistants rank lower than ministers. Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the only president to have appointed a female minister since the 1979 revolution. Marzieh Dastjerdi served as health minister between 2009 and 2013.
The Sunni minority, who make up some nine percent of the population, also were not represented in the new cabinet list. The average age of the new cabinet, 58, was slightly offset by 35-year-old Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Rouhani’s young pick for telecommunications minister. The president has not yet proposed a nominee to head the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. The following is a list of the 17 appointments, which will need to be approved by lawmakers.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Mohammad Javad Zarif
- Minister of Petroleum: Bijan Namdar Zanganeh
- Minister of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics: Amir Hatami
- Minister of Intelligence: Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi
- Minister of Interior: Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
- Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance: Massoud Karbasian
- Minister of Energy: Habibollah Bitaraf
- Minister of Communication and Information Technology: Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi
- Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade: Mohammad Shariatmadari
- Minister of Roads and Urban Development: Abbas Akhoundi
- Minister of Justice: Seyyed Alireza Avaei
- Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance: Seyyed Abbas Salehi
- Minister of Agriculture: Mahmoud Hojjati
- Minister of Labor, Cooperatives, and Welfare: Ali Rabi’ee
- Minister of Education: Seyyed Mohammad Bat’haei
- Minister of Health, Treatment, and Medical Education: Seyyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi
- Minister of Sports and Youth: Massoud Soltanifar