All four ministers proposed by President Hassan Rouhani received votes of confidence from lawmakers in a Saturday session of the Majlis. Rouhani had attempted a cabinet reshuffle by proposing Farhad Dejpasand as the minister of economy, Mohammad Eslami as minister of transport and urban development, Mohammad Shariatmadari as minister of cooperative, labor, and social welfare, […]
All four ministers proposed by President Hassan Rouhani received votes of confidence from lawmakers in a Saturday session of the Majlis.
Rouhani had attempted a cabinet reshuffle by proposing Farhad Dejpasand as the minister of economy, Mohammad Eslami as minister of transport and urban development, Mohammad Shariatmadari as minister of cooperative, labor, and social welfare, and Reza Rahmani as minister of industry, mine and trade.
Eslami received 151 yeas, 98 nays, and 8 abstentions. Shariatmadari received 196 yeas, 63 nays, and 5 abstentions. Dejpasand received 200 yeas, 50 nays, and 15 abstentions. Rahmani received 203 yeas, 49 nays, and 13 abstentions.
Dejpasand says cooperation is key to resolving economic issues
Dejpasand, President Rouhani’s pick for economy minister, told lawmakers one of his plans is to establish centers with the aim of boosting cooperation among the administration, parliament, private sector and academia in order to resolve the economic issues.
Dejpasand referred to his experience during Iraq’s imposed war against Iran in the 80s as a model he has since followed to succeed. “We were faced with an economic war during that time as well, but with our high social capital we managed to succeed,” he said.
He pointed out that immediate measures need to be taken to prevent hyperinflation, explaining, however, that the Economy Ministry’s capacities are not enough to reach that end.
Pointing to the difficulty of raising the necessary financing in today’s economy, Dejpasand said, “In the current situation, financing must be one of our plans, which can be pursued through domestic and foreign investment.”
He also said the banking system must be reformed before any major economic decision.
“The first issue Mr. Rouhani brought up in our meeting was the need to reform the banking system,” he said, adding that the top banks of the country are currently suffering from several issues.
He went on, “Overdue debts is one of such issues. We should gather and think to collect such debts. There should be incentive and punitive mechanisms.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dejpasand pointed to the high level of liquidity in Iran’s economy, saying the liquidity should be turned into a tool to revive the economy.
Head of Majlis Production and Employment Committee later spoke in favor of Dejpasand, saying he is able to unify the Economy Ministry with the Planning and Budget Organization and the Central Bank of Iran.
“In the past years, a lack of coordination in the administration’s economic team was a major concern, but with Mr. Dejpasand such coordination will be formed,” Qolamreza Kateb said.
MP Ramezanali Sobhanifar also spoke highly of the proposed economy minister and said Dejpasand “was one of the effective individuals in drafting the sixth five-year development plan.”
He added that Dejpasand’s plans are in line with the general policies of the Islamic Republic and the resistance economy.
Ali Sari, who represents Ahwaz in the parliament, criticized the proposed economy minister, saying his “plans are just theory and it is impossible to put them into practice.”
Dejpasand has not proposed any practical solutions to resolve the economic issues, Sari said.
Shariatmadari promises transparency
Shariatmadari who was proposed as minister of cooperatives, labor, and social welfare said during his speech at the parliament that it is only transparency that can help fighting corruption.
“If there is corruption in an executive body and that body recognizes it, it [the body] should be praised,” he said.
He said that he will create infrastructures that make all the Pension Fund’s operations transparent.
Ruhollah Babaee Saleh, an MP who represents Buin Zahra, spoke for vote of confidence to Shariatmadari and described him as a “determined person in fighting organized corruption”.
It is notable that Shariatmadari is familiar with challenges in society, he said.
He also said that Shariatmadari is capable of coordinating related bodies for the country’s sustainable development.
Vali Maleki, an MP who represents Meshginshahr, was against appointment of Shariatmadari.
He said that Shariatmadari observes moral codes, but did not take any practical action to solve economic problems when he was at committee of industry for about one year.
He noted that no manager can be successful if he does not have goals to achieve in his plans.
Gholam Ali Jafarzadeh Emenabadi, an MP who represents Rasht, was also for giving vote of confident to Shariatmadari and called him a “guerrilla in the current [economic] war”.
“Enemies seek to exert pressure against the Iranian people and Mr. Shariatmadari is experienced enough to help,” he said.
Eslami says will prioritize strategic plans
Eslami was the third proposed minister to speak in defense of his plans for the Ministry of Road and Transport.
He said if made minister, he would prioritize strategic plans to facilitate the progression of developmental plans under current economic situations.
Eslami said he will have highest on agenda the Sixth Development Plan, removal of hindrances to production, and improvement of business environment.
MP Mohammad Reza Rezaee Kuchi, the head of Majlis Development Committee, spoke in favor of Eslami, saying the current shortcomings could only be tackled through the nominee’s plan of attracting finance.
“There are 2,970 unfinished plans in on the ministry’s agenda which cannot be funded through bonds or treasury documents. The only effective way to put them back on track is by what Mr. Eslami says he plans to employ, that is, domestic and foreign finance and the private sector cooperation.”
Then MP Mohammad Feyzi spoke against Eslami, raising doubt that he has any plan for the ministry.
“Was it not through the resignation of one minister that you were nominated? Because what I have my colleagues have heard is that your nomination was decided after an overnight negotiation and lobbyism,” Feyzi told Eslami.
Rahmani announces plans for production and employment
Rahmani was the last proposed minister to defend his agenda for the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade.
He said he would prioritize production and stable employment. “I will not use a crisis [management] room, but will turn that room into one for prevention and treatment,” he said.
He added that he had a plan to create an online “production and trade dashboard” for the live reporting of production and trade figures.
He also said his ministry would have special plans for the renovation of the transportation fleet.
MP Mahmoud Sadeqi spoke against Rahmani, saying he has no plan for the auto industry, among others. “Rahmani’s plans have no agenda, for example, for the amount of auto imports or electric cars,” he noted.
“There is no mention of the sanctions and post-sanctions eras in the industrial sector. Nor is there any plan under the extraordinary situations for the survival of businesses,” Sadeqi said.
Ali Asghar Yusofnejad was the next MP to speak. He defended Rahmani.
Rahmani has ample eligibility for the position, regarding his education resume and executive record.
He also said Rahmani’s plans adhere to the major state policies concerning his proposed area of supervision.