Iran's lame-duck president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, has tapped a doctoral graduate of North Korea's most elite university and the purported architect of a "national intranet" to head the Communications and Information Technology Ministry.
AP quoted the official Iranian IRNA news agency as reporting that Mohammad Hasan Nami was "likely to pass" a vote of confidence in a parliament that has become increasingly hostile to Ahmadinejad as his second and final term nears its end.
Nami holds a doctorate degree in state management from Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea. He is also a former deputy defense minister and Iran’s ex-deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Army.
IRNA’s Monday report says Nami is fluent in English and is the man behind an Iranian national intranet project.
The intranet project
is instrumental to Tehran's continuing efforts to limit Iranians' access to the World Wide Web and other outside sources of information. Iranian authorities justify the intranet project as aimed at protecting the country's mostly Shi'ite population from "un-Islamic" Internet content. They have already unveiled a video-sharing site, called Mehr
, to draw Iranians away from Google's massive YouTube site. (You can find lots of soccer, nature, and old movies and kids' programs there, in addition to religiously inspired sermons and state-approved music videos.)
The list of notable Kim Il Sung University alumni, in addition to current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his wife, "Comrade Ri Sol Ju,"
and his father, the late Kim Jong Il, includes mostly just North Korean illuminati.
Nami's doctoral work in Pyongyang could spell trouble for Iranians, who are already subjected to some of the heaviest Internet filtering anywhere in the world.
Even Tehran hasn't yet resorted to threatening its citizenry with "war crimes" charges
for the unauthorized use of mobile telephones.
-- Andy Heil