Bloomberg: The head of an Iranian newspaper appointed by the country’s supreme leader attacked President Hassan Rohani’s choice of oil minister, citing “dark spots” in his record.
By Ladane Nasseri
The head of an Iranian newspaper appointed by the country’s supreme leader attacked President Hassan Rohani’s choice of oil minister, citing “dark spots” in his record.
Hossein Shariatmadari, who oversees the Tehran-based Kayhan newspaper, accused Bijan Namdar Zanganeh of concluding a “shameful” deal to “supply Iran’s natural gas 14 times below current prices to foreigners.”
“Can such a person be trusted with safeguarding people’s interest in the sensitive Ministry of Oil?” Shariatmadari wrote in an editorial today. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has the final say on all state matters in Iran.
Zanganeh served as oil minister under former president Mohammad Khatami until 2005. In an interview with news website Khabaronline two years ago, he denied allegations the contract referred to by Kayhan was against national interests.
Rohani took the oath of office in parliament yesterday and named his proposed ministers at the end of his inauguration ceremony. His cabinet appointments must be approved by lawmakers.
Rohani is faced with “a significant challenge” in forming his cabinet, said Mehdi Khalaji, an Iran analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a research group.
Rohani will attempt not to “destroy the moderate, open-minded, pro-Western image he created for himself during the campaign,” Khalaji wrote in an emailed note on July 30. “At the same time, he must respond to the demands of conservatives, who control parliament, state media, and all other government bodies” as well as Khamenei, he said.
Parliament members are reviewing the backgrounds and qualifications of the proposed cabinet members and plan to vote on their appointments next week, Iran’s state television reported on its website today, citing Hossein Sobhaninia a member of the legislature’s board of directors.
“People’s representatives are faced with a fateful test,” Shariatmadari wrote. “They should show that they protect the interests of the Islamic regime and the people.”