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Iranian President Presents Cabinet For Second Term


Iranian President Hassan Rohani's reformist allies have criticized him for again failing to appoint any women to the cabinet, an omission seen as a capitulation to religious leaders.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has presented the list of cabinet members for his second term in office with almost no changes in high-profile positions -- and no women.

According to the list Rohani submitted to parliament on August 8, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, and Intelligence Minister Mahmud Alavi are to retain their posts.

Acting Defense Minister Amir Hatami is expected to officially take over that portfolio. Hatami, who is a general, would become the first defense chief selected from the national army in nearly three decades.

Since 1989, Iranian defense ministers were either civilians or more recently, members of the influential Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The rest of the names on Rohani's list are either incumbents or their deputies and officials.

All 18 cabinet members must be approved by parliament over the coming week. A nominee for science minister has not been announced.

Lawmakers are not expected to challenge Rohani's choices for the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence, as presidents select them with Khamenei's approval.

Under the Iranian political system, the supreme leader is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, appoints the head of the judiciary, and dictates major policies of the country.

Rohani's reformist allies have criticized him for again failing to appoint any women to the cabinet, an omission seen as a capitulation to religious leaders.

During his first term, there were three women among his large contingent of vice presidents, who do not require parliamentary approval.

The 68-year-old Rohani was sworn into office on August 5, after being reelected with 57 percent of the vote in May after promising to pursue a "path of coexistence and interaction with the world."

His administration signed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Rohani won reelection with the support of reformists and women, who have felt ignored in the selection process for the new government.

The sole female minister since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution came under Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Rohani's hard-line conservative predecessor whose health minister, Marzieh Dastjerdi, served between 2009 and 2013.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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