Who Are Likely To Be In Iran’s New Cabinet?
Five weeks before President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) takes office, the Iranian media is speculating on his likely cabinet. The first indication of the character of the new administration came June 23 when Raisi nominated Ali Bagheri-Kani to liaise with the foreign ministry.
No stranger to Iranian foreign policy, Bagheri-Kani is close to Saeed Jalili, critic of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator during sterile talks with the European Union 2007-13 under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bagheri-Kani was after 2009 deputy to Jalili at the Supreme National Security Council, where Jalili was secretary, and led Jalili’s unsuccessful 2013 presidential campaign. He is also related to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei through family marriage ties.
Sara Massoumi, economics editor of Etemad daily, tweeted that Bagheri-Kani was unlikely to be the new foreign minister. But Iran's leading economic daily Donyaye Eghtesad listed him in a trio of possibilities alongside Manouchehr Mottaki, who held the post 2005-2010 under Ahmadinejad, and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a former senior diplomat and current aide to parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf).
Donyaye Eghtesad named several possible candidates Raisi might have in mind for cabinet posts, including current judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili, who the paper said was likely to be chief of staff.
Donyaye Eghtesad named Jalili as a possible senior vice-president. Shargh later wrote that Jalili had made it clear that he wants again to be SNSC secretary, where he is currently one of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s two representatives.
Shargh also wrote that Raisi’s first vice-president was likely to be Farhad Rahbar, chief of the Planning and Budget Organization under Ahmadinejad. The reformist daily Aftab Yazd concurred, suggesting Rahbar was “likely to be Raisi's closest colleague in the next administration."
Born in Semnan in 1959, Rahbar and his family moved to Tehran in 1977. He is a former chancellor of Tehran University and is currently a lecturer in microeconomics as well as deputy chairman of the Strategic Council of Taxation.
Under President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Rahbar was head of strategic studies in the presidential office. Under Mohammad Khatami, Rahbar was the deputy for economic affairs at the Intelligence Ministry and became known as the man who "enriched" the ministry by acquiring several trading and financial companies for the ministry. Rahbar became Raisi’s economic adviser when after 2016 he headed the holy shrine in Mashhad, whose foundation owns vast real estate holdings and companies.
Other media reports speculate Rahbar will be Minister of Economy, Industry or Science. Tejarat News, an economics website, has reported that Rahbar wrote Raisi's economic plan for the presidential campaign, and that he is playing a role in deciding who will serve in Raisi’s administration.
Another name cropping up in press reports over likely appointments is Ali Nikzad, deputy parliament speaker, a man once close to Ahmadinejad who played a key part running Raisi's successful election campaign.