‘We will guarantee legitimate freedoms’

Raisi says was not under pressure in nominating ministers

August 21, 2021 - 11:32

TEHRAN – President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that in selecting his ministers he was not influenced by any special group or faction.

Of course, Raisi said, there were many proposals by different groups for ministers.

“In selecting ministers, I was not influenced by any current or special group. Of course, many proposals were sent to the government by different groups in introducing persons,” Raisi said while speaking in favor of his proposed ministers in the parliament.

Majlis started deliberations on the competence of ministers on Saturday.

The parliament is expected to finish its deliberation of the proposed ministers by Sunday afternoon.

Raisi called his proposed cabinet make-up “diverse” and said cabinet is not a “political party”.

“Actually, we tried to introduce the competent ones,” Raisi remarked.

There were efforts to consider the views of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in nominating ministers such as being competence, commitment, loyalty to values, being young, etc., the new president explained.

Raisi said his government’s plans are drawn based on “justice and progress” in all areas.

Reducing government’s monopoly and capacity-building have been given due attention in order to give opportunity to the people, the president stated.

“All plans have been crafted in a way to fulfill justice and progress in providing opportunities and facilities,” the president explained.

He added priority is being given to “meritocracy” and countering those who have amassed power and capital through favoritism.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president said regulations have been changed from “corruption-producing red tape” and a mere campaign against corruption to “preventing corruption”.

President Raisi released the names of his proposed cabinet ministers to the Majlis (Parliament) on August 11.

Raisi also said his government is bent on preventing constant changes in regulations with a focus on “knowledge-based economy”, redirect the government’s intervention in economy to a supervisory one and reforming the capital market.

The president went on to say that his government is seeking to take a departure from reliance on oil incomes and export of raw materials to increasing productivity and insisting on durable sources of income, and changing from traditional budgeting to smart budgeting strategy.

Raisi says cabinet is not a “political party”.

He also insisted on agricultural economy, saying promoting the economic status of the poor classes of society is of great importance.

The president went on to say that his government has drafted a short-term planning to deal with the pressing current problems, as well as medium-term and long-term planning which will be presented to the MPs and the educated class. 

Elsewhere in his remarks, while defending his nominated ministers, the president said the first priority is to control the Covid-19 pandemic, insisting on a quick vaccination of the citizens.

The second priority is to stabilize the economy, improve living standards and create a favorable environment for business.

The president also defended the credentials of his ministers.  

He described proposed education minister Hossein Baghgoli as a reformer and experienced person; the nominee for communications and information technology minister Issa Zarepour as a figure who can implement the plans; the nominee for economy minister Ehsan Khandouzi as a young and intelligent person; proposed labor and social welfare minister Hojat Abdolmaleki as an anti-corruption manager; nominee for minister of industry, commerce and minister Reza Fatemi as brave, expert with revolutionary spirit;  interior minister nominee Ahmad Vahidi as a knowledgeable and strategist figure. 

He also defended the record of Rostam Qassemi as the proposed housing and transport minister, saying the government plans to build one million houses in a year and during the four years of his presidency the government intends to build four million housing units.

“Mr. Qassemi has plans in this regard and it is important for us that a person take the helm (at this ministry) that can materialize this promise of the government.”

Qassemi was the chief of the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters, one of the greatest contractors run by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). He also served as oil minister in the Ahmadinejad administration.

Qassemi also nominated to run for the post of president in the June election. However, the withdrew candidacy.

The president also defended the record of the proposed oil minister Javad Oji, saying he is one of the reputable and well-known figures of the Oil Ministry with high expertise.

Raisi also said a good plan is underway for exporting oil. 

The president also said Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili who has been proposed as minister of culture and Islamic guidance is an experienced and knowledgeable person who can meet his sensitivities toward the issue of culture.

He also said the cultural figures should know their freedom has been given by God.

“Persons of culture and art should know that we have not given you freedom. It has been given by God and we guarantee it,” Raisi said, adding, “The government is guarantor of legitimate freedoms… so that the ability of cultural figures and artists is blossomed and this is the duty of this ministry.”