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August 20, 2009

All the President’s women

In an article on Wednesday, Rooz reveals more information about Ahmadinejad’s three female cabinet nominees.
Although this is the first time in 30 years after the 1979 Revolution that Iranian women are allowed to serve as cabinet ministers, some female activists like Fatemeh Haghighatjou and Parvin Aradalan believe that this does not affect the fundamental situation women face in Iran.  According to them, the appointments are mainly a “tactic” by Ahmadinejad to soften the harsh language against him by the opposition side.
On the other hand, his choice of these three conservative nominees could simply signify Ahmadinejad’s desire to control the leadership of three important ministries that mainly cover and serve the middle class families in Iran who turned to become major Mousavi supports during and after 12 June election.
While some conservative members of Parliament such as Ahmad Tavakoli criticized Ahmadinejad on the fact that some candidates “do not have even one day’s worth of experience in administrative works,” Mohammad Reza Bahonar, said on Thursday that “at least 4-5 candidates will definitely not receive Majlis’ vote of confidence”. He also mentioned that the Majlis needs to obtain more information over 3 other candidates who are almost “unknown” to them.
Fatemeh Ajorlou is nominated by Ahmadinejad as the new Minister of Welfare and Social Security. She is Karaj’s representative in Parliment who is actually one of the main accused in Abbas Palizdar’s case. Abbas Palizar (Ajorlou’s cousin) reveled evidence of corruption in the Judicial system of Iran in the Universities of Shiraz and Hamedan in 2008. Palizdar, a former member of the Parliment’s Investigation Committee, explained how senior ayatollahs and their families, as well as high-ranking civilians and officers of the Revolutionary Guards have profited from their influence and positions to obtain from governments highly profitable mines, factories, import licences for sugar and cigarettes etc. He was arrested shortly after blowing the whistle on this corruption. Ajorlou has been Ahmadinejad’s ultra-conservative supporter in Parliment during the past two sessions. She was an IRGC nurse during the Iran-Iraq war, an honored member of the IRGC, and member of Research and Education Committee in Parliament.
Dr. Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi served two terms as Tehran’s representative in Parliment. She has held various positions in medical fields, and is currently the consultant of the President of the Tehran University of Medical Science.  Also, she is the director of the international relations office of as well as the President of the Kish branch of the Tehran University of Medical Science. Dastjerdi is Hossein Shariatmadari’s wife, who is editor-in-chief of hardliner newspaper Kayhan. Dastjerdi is nominated by Ahmadinejad to serve as the Minister of Health and Medical Education.
Susan Keshavarz is Ahmadinejad’s candidate for the Ministry of Education who currently serves as deputy of Special Education in this Ministry. Keshavarz has a PhD in Education and Philosophy. She has not had any specific background in teaching or the field of educational administration other than her current position.
Check out BBC Persian for more information.

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