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Rouhani Proposes Shamkhani for Prime Minister | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. REUTERS/ Morteza Nikoubazl

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has proposed secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani for the position of minister of interior, according to knowledgeable sources.

Iranian government spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht stated that the formation is in its last stages, while ILNA news agency reported that Rouhani could change half his current government and only nine will keep their positions including that of foreign affairs, intelligence and petroleum.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is expected to sign Rouhani’s presidential decree for the second term and he will be sworn in before the parliament next Saturday, amid unprecedented security measures in Tehran.

Sources close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Rouhani is discussing with Shamkhani the position of an interior minister. Shamkhani was a former defense minister during the presidency of reformist President Mohammed Khatami.

Choosing Shamkhani for the ministry will be welcomed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and would convince the Speaker Ali Larijani to drop his candidate.

Mehr news agency reported current Minister of Interior Rahmani Fazli saying that Rouhani had discussed with him the government’s formation. He didn’t, however, reveal whether he asked him to remain in position or not.

ILNA news agency reported that current vice president for executive affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari is the president’s candidate for the position of minister of industries and mines.

Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader issued a statement last Friday saying that the president is consulting the Supreme Leader about several names suggested for the ministries of security, defense, and foreign affairs without referring to the ministry of interior affairs.

Secretary of the Supreme National Security is considered one of the top official positions named by the Supreme Leader. Former Iranian reports suggested the transfer of current minister of defense Hossein Dehghan to the Supreme National Security Council.

Meanwhile, ILNA published a report saying that Rouhani agreed with Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami that he will be named as defense minister instead of Dehghan, whereas Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alawi will remain in his position.

Rouhani will most likely assign the current minister of information and communications technology Mahmoud Vaezi as his chief of staff, with reports saying that Vaezi will step down from office and assign one of his deputies instead.

ILNA also stated that the current ministers of justice and culture will be changed, with only nine ministers remaining in their positions including foreign affairs, intelligence, petroleum, and health.

Reformist MP Elias Hazrati stated earlier this week that the President will most likely announce the new government after his swearing-in ceremony.

Iranian government spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht said that the president has heard different opinions about the cabinet and he himself will make the final decision, adding that the president is committed to the demands of the people and invites the best and most appropriate figures.

Nobakht continued, “Instead of responding to the demands of certain political currents, Rouhani considers himself responsive to the demands of the people, while not forgetting and respecting the efforts and services of the political currents.”