Iran’s Former President Hassan Rouhani recently admitted a well-known fact in Iranian politics that presidents choose cabinet ministers in “coordination” with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

It was previously known that Khamenei chose or endorsed the Ministers of Intelligence, Interior, Defense and Foreign Affairs of all of Iran’s presidents. However, Rouhani has said in an interview with Etemad daily that he also nominated his ministers of Education, Higher Education, and Culture as well as the chairmen of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization and the Planning and Budget Organization “in coordination” with Khamenei.

This means that Khamenei effectively chose all of the key ministers and top officials in Rouhani’s two cabinets between 2013 and 2021. Rouhani said this was done for “certain reasons” but he did not elaborate on what those reasons were.

Mostafa Faghihi, the editor of Entekhab website, a media outlet close to Rouhani, wrote in a long tweet on March 29 that hardliners in Iran: “never thought that Rouhani would win the 2017 election. They were pretty sure that Raisi was going to be the winner, but this was not the case. They were so angry about the failure of their plan.”

Faghihi wrote: “By the end of Rouhani’s first term of office as President, the nuclear deal with the West was made despite hardliners’ obstruction, the value of the rial had remained stable for four years and even worse from the hardliners’ point of view, the people were happy with Rouhani’s performance. So, the state TV, the Friday Imams and the rest of hardliners’ propaganda machine were mobilized to turn the people against Rouhani.”

Faghihi added that hardliners then planned and carried out several quasi-Coup d’états against Rouhani. Rouhani himself said in the interview that he may talk about those events at another opportunity, but did not say why was not able to talk about those plots now. However, Faghihi’s reference to Mashhad Friday Prayers Imam Ahmad Alamolhoda is reminiscent of the rumors in 2017 that pointed fingers at the firebrand cleric in Mashhad for instigating a riot in the city.

In the interview Rouhani gave a different version of some the events of his presidency. Although there is public knowledge that IRGC commanders held a meeting with him to protest his comments about a parallel “government with guns,” a clear reference to the IRGC’s intervention in the affairs of the state, Rouhani said in the interview that IRGC commanders including Qasem Soleimani came to him with a request: To choose his Defense Minister from among the ranks of the IRGC. This came while according to Rouhani, Khamenei, when asked, said that it makes no difference as long as he endorses the minister.

Meanwhile, Rouhani complained that after nationwide protests broke out following a sudden rise in the price of gasoline in November 2019, Ebrahim Raisi was the first person to twitt against the price rise while he was one of the three officials who made the final decision about the controversial price rise and had signed the resolution.

At the time, Raisi was the Judiciary Chief, Ghalibaf was the Speaker of the Majles and with Rouhani, they were the heads of the three powers of the government who made the decision as the parliament was too hesitant to make a decision whose consequences were not clear. The price rise was delayed several times since 2013 but it was a measure that was essential for the country in hard times.

According to Rouhani, the Majles was fearing a backlash at a time when Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal and his additional sanctions against Iran had badly hit the Iranian economy. The inflation rate was fast rising, and the national currency was falling. Acknowledging the impact of price rises, however, Rouhani claimed that he himself did not know about the timing of the gasoline price increase.

Rouhani claimed that there were plots to take advantage of the situation to start a riot, but he did not name any individual or group who were behind the plot. Nonetheless, he said that “The Ministry of Intelligence and the local governors told me they have arrested several individuals and knew who were behind the plot.”

Source » iranintl