While media speculations about the combination of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet continue, he has appointed a team of five politicians and economists to plan his government’s economic policy.
Many analysts, as well as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have said that the next government’s most important task will be to put the country’s ailing economy back on track. This team is apparently going to say how.
According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), controlling inflation, introducing digital economy, ensuring that the 2015 nuclear deal remains unchanged and strengthening Iran’s economic relations with her neighbors are four urgent diplomatic-economic measures the Raisi administration is planning to take.
Two of the team of five, Farhad Rahbar and Massoud Mirkazemi have worked with the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Rahbar resigned his post as the head of Planning and Budget Organization and MirKazemi was fired by Ahmadinejad.
Rahbar, a conservative politician and an academic, was a member of Raisi’s campaign in the presidential races of 2017 and 2021. In 2015 he was Raisi’s economic adviser at the administration of the holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad. Currently, he is said to be setting the next cabinet for Raisi and is likely to be his senior vice president or the head of the Planning and Budget Organization. The highlight of Rahbar’s career is his record as the man in charge of the Intelligence Ministry’s economic affairs under President Mohammad Khatami. Rahbar was born in Semnan in 1959.
To discern the worldview of these former officials one needs to look at their past statements on the 2015 nuclear agreement and their position on financial reforms, including anti-terror-financing legislation mandated by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, FATF.
Rahbar believes that Iran’s cooperation with the FATF shall depend on safeguarding Iran’s sovereignty to ensure that Iran’s decision-making rights are guaranteed, Iran’s former Central bank Governor Tahmasb Mazaheri has said(link is external).
Massoud Mirkazemi is another economist in the group of five. A former conservative lawmaker, he was Ahmadinejad’s Trade Minister during his first term of office, and his oil minister during his second term but was fired by Ahmadinejad halfway through the term. Mirkazemi was born in 1960.
Mirkazemi believes that the FATF(link is external) is a soft or non-lethal Western pressure tool against the Islamic Republic, Mashregh News quoted him as saying in 2016. He also maintained that “those who signed agreements such as the JCPOA and supported the FATF are not aligned with the Islamic revolution.”
Mohammad Reza Fatemi Amin has worked with Raisi at the administration of the holy shrine in Mashad like the other four men on the committee. He has studied electronics and strategic management at the University of Mashhad and is likely to be Raisi’s Industry Minister.
Mehdi Dousti is the deputy for technological affairs in the oil and natural gas department of the IRGC’s civil engineering and financial conglomerate and a project manager at the Setareh Khalij Fars natural Gas Products Refinery and a likely candidate for the post of Oil Minister in Raisi’s cabinet.
Hojjatollah Abdolmaleki teaches economics at the Imam Sadeq University, that trains the cadres of the Islamic Republic. He is said to be one of Raisi’s choices for the post of Agriculture Minister.
All five members of the group are known to be advocates of the centralized state-controlled economy. Tejarat News speculated that that this control is likely to be exercised in a heavy-handed manner through organizations such as Sazman-e Tazirat that can be roughly translated as Economic Punishments Organization.
Although this is known as a committee of five, it is assisted by a sixth person, young conservative lawmaker Yaser Jebraili who has been close to IRGC’s news agencies Fars and Tasnim. The best characterization for Jebraili would be an idealist, but otherwise a hardline political analyst and a staunch anti-US writer. He has been named by various news outlets such as Tejarat News and Khabar Online as a member of Raisi’s economic planning committee although he has never been observed to write anything about economy.
Source » trackpersia