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posted January 05, 2001 09:44     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TEHRAN 4 Jan. (IPS) Iranian analyst reacted negatively to the second reshuffle made by the embattled Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami to his 42 months-old cabinet, observing that all the new ministers but one, presented to the Majles (parliament) Wednesday, are drawn from the present cabinet.

But at the same time they said the fact that the reshuffle take place less than six months to the end of his first term, is a "clear sign" that Mr. Khatami intends to seek a new mandate on next 8 June presidential elections.

In a letter to the Majles, Mr. Khatami proposed Mr. Eshaq Jahangiri for the new ministry of Industries and Mines, Ahmad Masjedjame'i to replace Mr. Ata'ollah Mohajerani who was forced to resign from Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister under pressure from the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, Mahmud Hojjati to lead the new ministry of Reconstruction and Agriculture, Ahmad Mo'tamedi for the PTT ministry and Rahman Dadman for Roads and Transport.

Four ministries of Agriculture and Reconstruction Mobilisation, Mines and Metals and Industries were merged to form two new ones: Ministry of Reconstruction and Agriculture and Industries and Mines.

Mr. Hojjati was minister of Roads and Transport while Mr. Jahangiri was that of Mines and Metals.

Isa Kalantari, Qolamreza Shafe'i and Sa'idi Kia, the outgoing ministers of Agriculture, Industries and Reconstruction Mobilisation joins Mr.Khatami's group of advisers.

Noting that Mr. Dadman is joining the cabinet coming from the Railways, observers said the new reshuffle confirms either Mr. Khatami is happy to work with the same team or can not
find any new personalities to join him.

Analysts noted that since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Republic depends on about between 250 to 300 people, almost all of them relatives of the ruling clerical families, for all important
civilian posts.

"From the outset, the same set of people forms the successive governments of the Islamic Republic, changing only posts. You can see one man at the head of a ministry with one president and see him again as deputy of another ministry in another cabinet, or chairman of one foundation or government-owned organisations and back again as minister", observed one political analyst asking not be named.

Following his landslide victory in 1997, Mr. Khatami decided to bring in new bloods, but soon he had to revise, as none of the independent personalities he sought accepted his offer or put such a harsh conditions that he could not accept. The result was that he kept most of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani's ministers, including the two "heavy weights in Hojjatoleslam Abdollah Nuri, the Interior minister who was impeached in 1998 and latter jailed and Mr. Mohajerani, who resigned on 14 December.

"By completing his cabinet less than six months before next presidential race shows that President Khatami is really preparing himself for the next four years, ending uncertainties and exasperation among ministers and government employees", noted Mr. Mohammad Sadeq Javadi Hesar, the owner of the banned Toos daily.

Others said the new appointments that consolidates the present government points to the compromise worked out between Mr. Khatami with both the leader and the former president
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.

So far, Mr. Khatami has not officially announced his intention whether he would seek a new mandate or not, but last week his younger brother Mohammad Reza who is also the general secretary of the Islamic Iran participation Party said that he would run in the next presidential elections.

"One would have expected Mr. Khatami make significant changes in his cabinet after the victory of the reformists in the Majles elections, but after he failed to introduce any change, the most optimistic among analysts had to reverse their views, reaching the conclusion that they might have been mistaken from the very moment Mr. Khatami formed his cabinet, taking on board the same people", one source said. CABINET RESHUFFLE 4101

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