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  • 23 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran

Embattled Science Minister now faces plagiarism charges

The conservative news website Alef is reporting that Kamran Daneshjou, the embattled Minister of Science in Ahmadinejad’s government who has faced harsh criticism for some pretty questionable irregularities having to do with his resume, allegedly plagiarized an article he published earlier this year.

Nature has more:

Large chunks of text, figures, and tables in a 2009 paper co-authored by Kamran Daneshjou, Iran’s science minister, are identical to those of a 2002 paper published by South Korean researchers, Nature has learned. Daneshjou served as the head of the interior ministry office which ran the disputed presidential elections in June, which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Daneshjou is also a former governor general of Tehran. The paper by Daneshjou and Majid Shahravi from the department of mechanical engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology in Tehran is entitled “Analysis of critical ricochet angle using two space discretization methods“, and was published in the journal Engineering with Computers in 2009. In many places the text duplicates verbatim that of an earlier paper: “Ricochet of a tungsten heavy alloy long-rod projectile from deformable steel plates“, published by South Korean scientists in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics in 2002. Other sentences in Daneshjou’s paper are identical to those in a paper given by other researchers at a 2003 conference. The scientific credentials of Daneshjou, who was appointed as science minister earlier this month, have been the subject of controversy, with the Los Angeles Times reporting in late August about question marks over his PhD. According to his university webpage at the time, the PhD was awarded by the ‘Manchester Imperial Institute of Science and Technology.’ The webpage this afternoon has changed and says that the PhD was awarded in 1989 after working at Imperial College in London, but that the defence of the thesis was held in Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran.

Many Iranians have criticized Ahmadinejad’s choice of Cabinet appointments, citing a stunning lack of experience for some.  Daneshjou was a close ally of Ahmadinejad during the disputed 12 June election, and came under criticism this summer for listing a fictitious university on his resume.  He later changed his resume to list a PhD from one of the most prestigious universities in the UK, though the Imperial College of London has no record of his thesis.

During the Parliament’s vote of confidence, one of the members of the Majlis called him “a pin in the grenade” that will explode when the universities open.

  • 4 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Conservative MP: Khamenei Urged MPs to Support Cabinet

In the latest sign suggesting that Ahmadinejad’s political power depends on Khamenei’s backing, AFP is reporting that a senior conservative MP has said the Cabinet’s approval depended on Khamenei’s support. From AFP:

TEHRAN — Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged MPs to approve President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, a senior lawmaker said on Friday, the latest sign of his full backing for the hardliner.

The ISNA news agency quoted Deputy Spearker Mohammad Reza Bahonar as saying that if Khamenei had not backed the proposed line-up, eight or nine nominees would have been rejected in Thursday’s confidence vote rather than only three.

“The message of the leader played a big role,” Bahonar said.

The conservative-dominated parliament approved 18 of 21 nominees for the cabinet, rejecting two of three women proposed and the would-be energy minister.

“If we had not received the leader’s recommendations, probably eight or nine ministers would have failed to win the vote of confidence, and that would not have been a good start for the government,” said Bahonar, a well-known critic of the president.

“If we had not received the message of the leader, the ministers of oil, industry, commerce, cooperatives, transport and foreign affairs would have been rejected,” Bahonar added.

He said Khamenei’s “vision” prevented this from happening and “changed the view” of parliament.

Mohammad Reza Bahonar is Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of Engineers, a lynchpin of Iran’s conservative establishment.

Bahonar generally supported Ahmadinejad from 2005 until earlier this summer, when Ahmadinejad tried to appoint a loyal politician who favored relations with Israel to be his Vice President. The Supreme Leader overruled the appointment and now Rahim Mashaie is Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff.

Ahmadinejad is a member of the Engineers, but the party is generally closer to pragmatic conservatives like Ali Larijani.

  • 3 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

18 Cabinet nominees approved by Majlis

Iran’s Majlis approved 18 votes of confidence for President Ahmadinejad’s 21-member Cabinet on Thursday. Although, it was expected that at least 1/3 of the nominees would not receive a vote of confidence because of  rumors of “disqualification,” it is said that the Speaker of Majlis (Ali Larijani) informed the Representatives of the Supreme Leader’s desire to have all Cabinet nominees approved.  If this news is accurate, the strong support of the Majlis could be considered as an important boost for the Supreme Leader influence.

Press TV reported on the vote Thursday:

Iranian parliamentarians have given their vote of confidence to 18 of the 21 nominees proposed for ministerial posts, including one of the women candidates. Of the 18 approved ministers, Brigadier Ahmad Vahidi won the highest number of votes and Marzieh-Vahid Dastjerdi became Iran’s first woman minister since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The nominees who failed to win the parliament’s approval were the proposed candidates for the ministries of welfare and social security, energy, and education, Fatemeh Ajorlou, Mohammad Aliabadi, and Sousan Keshavarz. Ajorlou only gained 76 votes, much less than the required 143 votes. Aliabadi fell short of gaining the vote of confidence by six votes, and Keshavarz got the lowest approval with just 49 votes.

The lawmakers approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice of the following individuals for the leading posts at the country’s ministries:

(Candidates: Votes in favor, Votes against, Abstentions)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki: 173, 79, 34

Minister of Oil Masoud Mirkazemi: 147, 117, 19

Minister of Defense Brigadier Ahmad Vahidi: 227, 54, 5

Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi: 194, 67, 25

Minister of Justice Morteza Bakhtiari: 225, 36, 23

Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar: 182, 75, 25

Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini: 224, 41, and 21

Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari: 158, 91, 37

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini: 194, 61, 31

Minister of Cooperatives Mohammad Abbasi: 163, 83, 37

Minister of Industries and Mines Ali Akbar Mehrabian: 153, 103, 27

Minister of Jihad-e-Agriculture Sadeq Khalilian: 200, 54, 32

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Reza Taqipour: 197, 62, 27

Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi: 175, 82, 29

Minister of Housing and Urban Development Abdolreza
Sheikholeslami: 193, 63, 30

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Ali Nikzad: 219, 40, 27

Minister of Science, Research and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo: 186, 75, 25

Minister of Road and Transportation Hamid Behbahani: 167, 83, 33

The new cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Sunday. President Ahmadinejad has invited all the parliamentarians to take part in the planned meeting.

  • 2 September 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Final day of Ahmadinejad’s cabinet debate

From Press TV:

Iran’s Parliament has begun the final day of consecutive debates on reviewing the credentials of the eight remaining ministers proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Debates on President Ahmadinejad’s 21-member Cabinet line-up began on Sunday with hot discussions by lawmakers speaking for and against the proposed nominees.

During Majlis session on Wednesday, the lawmakers will discuss the remaining eight proposed ministers who will each have the opportunity to present their plans. To take office, the potential ministers will have to gain the Parliament’s vote of confidence by winning the approval of the majority of the representatives.

Majlis is scheduled to complete the process and give its vote of confidence decisions to President Ahmadinejad’s 21-member Cabinet late Wednesday.

Parliamentary debates over the new Cabinet line-up kicked off on Sunday in Iran with President Ahmadinejad delivering speeches about his plans of the future government and defending his chosen candidates. At the end of discussions, Ahmadinejad will have the opportunity to make his final remarks defending his proposed 21-member Cabinet.

  • 31 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Disputed Cabinet Nominees

Iran’s Majlis began the first day of a vote of confidence for the cabinet nominees proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.

According to BBC:

The Majlis will hold a confidence vote on Wednesday, but correspondents say the president is struggling to win backing in the predominantly conservative body. The latest objections by MPs have been leveled at his choice for education minister, one of three women nominees.

Education Minister-designate Sousan Keshavarz presented her case in the 290-member Majlis, promising to privatize public schools and raise teachers’ salaries. She also stressed her Islamic revolutionary credentials. “I have grown up in a family which appreciates (Islamic) values and took part in religious events as well as in rallies against the shah’s government… and have been a member of the women’s Basij,” she said in a speech quoted by AFP. The Basij is the volunteer Islamic militia which has spearheaded a crackdown on opposition protests. The influential education commission chairman, conservative Ali Abbaspour, said if Ms Keshavarz’s nomination was passed she would have to be impeached. “She has only a year’s experience… and is talking of the same programs outlined by previous ministers. The president has to nominate a strong minister,” he was quoted as saying.

Mr Ahmadinejad’s other two women nominees, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi and Fatemeh Ajorlou, are among 14 cabinet hopefuls who lack ministerial experience.The cabinet needs approval from more than 50% of sitting MPs. The 220-member conservative bloc constitutes an overwhelming majority in the Majlis.

Iranian press reports described the exchanges between Mr Ahmadinejad and leading conservatives on the first day of the debate on Sunday as unprecedented. Mr Ahmadinejad defended his government as the “cleanest” possible. He rejected accusations that he had simply chosen ministers who would be obedient “yes-men”.

Conservatives and reformers alike accused him [Ahmadinejad] of nominating unqualified people without consulting MPs. The defence minister-designate, Ahmad Vahidi, is wanted by Interpol in connection with a 1994 bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people, although some observers said that might bolster his support among hardliners in defiance of international pressure on Iran.

  • 28 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ahmadinejad’s female cabinet nominees face opposition

According to Press TV:

In a crucial setback for the Iranian president, a major block of Parliament deputies have decided to reject Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposed women ministers. In the run up to his second four-term in office, Ahmadinejad made major changes to the combination of his Cabinet while he selected three women to head key ministries.

However, in an internal meeting, the Principlist Islamic Revolution block decided earlier in the week to reject the three females, reported the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Friday. A block member, who did not want to be named, explained the reasoning for their decision, saying that each candidate was rejected for a different reason. With regards to proposed health minister Vahid-Dastjerdi, he said that “certain reports about her business activities had reached the block which altered the opinion of the members about her.”

The Principlist Majlis deputy, who sits on another block as well, said about Keshavarz, who has been offered the education portfolio: “We have heard that she was active in the campaign headquarters of (defeated presidential candidate) Mir-Hossein Mousavi.” Keshavarz had reportedly told deputies that Ahmadinejad had tapped her with knowledge of this fact.

The third candidate, Ajorlou, who was picked for the welfare post, was rejected because she ‘is too good.’ “It would be a shame if she becomes welfare minister,” said the unnamed source, presumably because the ministry is due to be disbanded in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the main reformist block of the Majlis has decided in favor of one of the three women, the proposed health minister, Vahid-Dastjerdi. Intensive lobbying by the president and his staff are going on at the same time, and the final decision about the fates of the proposed ministers should be determined in the coming days after a week of cross-examination and deliberation by the Majlis.

The three women, — Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, Susan Keshavarz and Fatemeh Ajorlou – and the rest of the new Cabinet need to be approved by the Majlis, which is due to consider their appointments from August 30.

  • 20 August 2009
  • Posted By Matthew Negreanu
  • 2 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ahmadinejad announces rest of official Cabinet

On Thursday night, Ahmadinejad revealed the final list of Cabinet members that he submitted to Parliament (Majlis) late on Wednesday. He faces strong resistance among conservatives in the Majlis over his choice of some candidates, particularly the ministers of Science, Education, Petroleum, Energy, Interior, Defense, Health, and Welfare and Social Security.

Fars News Agency reports the final list as:

1. Kamran Daneshjou – (Ministry of Science, Research and Technology)

2. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar (Ministry of Interior)

3. Manouchehr Mottaki (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

4. Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini (Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance)

5. Reza Taghipoor (Ministry of Information and Communication Technology)

6. Abdolreza Sheykholeslami (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs)

7. Susan Keshavarz (Ministry of Education)

8. Seyyed Masoud Mir Kazemi (Ministry of Petroleum)

9. Mohammad Aliabadi (Ministry of Energy)

10. Mehdi Ghazanfari (Ministry of Commerce)

11. Ali Nikzad (Ministry of Housing and Urban Development)

12. Hamid Behbahani (Ministry of Transportation)

13. Seyyed Morteza Bakhtiari (Ministry of Justice)

14. Habibollah Boorboor (Ministry of Agricultural)

15. Ahmad Vahidi (Ministry of Defense)

16. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi (Ministry of Health and Medical Education)

17. Fatemeh Ajorlou (Ministry of Welfare and Social Security)

18. Heydar Moslehi (Ministry of Intelligence and Security)

19. Ali Akbar Mehrabian (Ministry of Industries and Mines)

20. Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini (Ministry of Economy and Finance Affairs)

21. Mohammad Abbasi (Ministry of Cooperative)

  • 14 July 2009
  • Posted By Sanaz Tofighrad
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009, Uncategorized

Ahmadinejad to make “significant changes” to the cabinet

Ahmadinejad plans to make changes in the structure of the government “suitable with today’s needs” emphasizing that “these changes will be significant.”

According to Hamshahri news, “[Ahmadinejad], who has shown a great interest in changing the administration over the past four years, has indicated a new design for his cabinet but it is not clear yet which one of his friends will remain in the cabinet and which one will leave.”

Ahmadinejad is also planning to reduce the number of ministries either by merging or dissolving them.  If his current proposal is accepted by the Majlis, ministries of Cooperative, Labor and Social Affairs, Commerce and Industries and Mines will be merged into one and the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science, Research and Technology will also be combined.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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