|Iran’s new president expected to bring ‘worldly outlook’ to Tehran: article||
TEHRAN – Iran’s new president Hassan Rohani is expected to use foreign-educated people in his government, which would bring a “worldly outlook” to Tehran, according to an article published on the website of NBC News on Sunday.
Following is the text of the article, written by Alastair Jamieson:
Several U.S.-educated Iranians are expected to be tapped for key posts in President Hassan Rohani’s new administration, hinting at a break from the… rhetoric of predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The 64-year-old moderate cleric won an outright victory in June’s election, in which he was the closest thing to a reform candidate running to replace Ahmadinejad.
A sudden thaw in relations with the West is unlikely, most experts agree. But Rohani’s installation could mark the beginning of a more open government and lead to friendlier relations between Washington and Tehran.
“I would not expect a change of agenda, but maybe a change in the way things are done – and that is important when it comes to diplomacy,” said Sasan Aghlani, an expert on Iran at British think tank Chatham House.
After Rohani is sworn in on August 3rd, he will unveil a new cabinet and team of advisers. Among the names being touted are four veteran Iranian politicians who all hold degrees from U.S. universities.
Mahmoud Vaezi, a senior figure at Rohani’s Center for Strategic Research think tank, could be appointed foreign minister, according to Bijan Khajehpour, a Vienna-based Iranian business consultant and contributor to regional news site Al-Monitor.
Vaezi graduated with a degree in electrical engineering at California’s Sacramento State University in 1976, and his biography lists two other U.S. degrees and a doctorate from Warsaw University in Poland.
Other candidates for administration positions are industrialist Mohammad Nahavandian, who was awarded a doctorate in economics by the George Washington University in January 1994, and Mohammadreza Nematzadeh, Rowhani’s campaign manager who studied environmental engineering at California Polytechnic State University in 1968.
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, likely to be a key foreign policy adviser, is another Sacramento State graduate - and currently a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.
That senior Iranian figures are educated in the West is not unusual. One of the candidates Rohani defeated, Ali Akbar Velyati, was a post-graduate fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine while current foreign minister Ali-Akbar Salehi has a doctorate from MIT.
But together, they come from a cohort of Iranians who were studying in the United States just before the 1979 Islamic revolution and returned to Iran to participate in overthrowing the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. And all four of those touted for Rohani’s inner circle have extensive business or political ties outside their home country.
“I sense the cabinet will have a more worldly outlook than under Ahmadinejad,” Chatham House’s Aghlani said.
Most have already served as ministers under previous presidents, according to Khajehpour. “They bring experience, which is significant because there has been too much trial and error in the past.”
“They also have an insight into how Iran is perceived in the West, and how the West is perceived in Iran.”
Rohani himself was educated in the West, having been awarded both a masters degree and a doctorate in law at Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University, where his supervisor Mahdi Zahraa remembered him as “a quiet-spoken, very gentle man.”
“His spoken English was good. Hassan knew his subject well, and responded to my directions in an organized, thoughtful manner,” Zahraa said in a statement.
The university on Wednesday released video footage of the 1999 ceremony at which Rohani received his doctorate.
As he prepares to take office, Rohani is likely to be preoccupied with the tasks ahead of him – not least repairing Iran’s economy…
Khajehpour speculated that Rohani would create “a government of unity – of reconciliation, perhaps.” He speculated that even defeated election rival Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf could be offered a government role.
Still, Rohani’s open approach – and strong regional outlook - could cement opposition among ordinary Iranians to U.S.-led sanctions.
“A civil society could emerge, bringing together previously fragmented groups who could mount a campaign against sanctions.”
In a hint at what lies ahead, Mousavian – one of the names tipped for a foreign policy role – said in an interview Monday that Washington’s sanctions policy was a “lose-lose game.”
He said, “[Rohani] is courteous and logical and respects international norms and regulations. The key to resolving the dispute with Iran depends on whether the traditional Western policies of pressure, sanctions, threats, and humiliating Iran will change to those based on respect, mutual interests, and cooperation with Rohani’s administration.
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