Iran: Parliament Speaker admits Khamenei approves key ministers

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 22, 2021—As members of the Majlis (parliament) were debating the qualification of the ministers of new regime president Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday, Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf made a rare admission that the entire vetting process is a show, and it is the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei who calls the shots.

Ghalibaf, a former IRGC and State Security Forces commander, told lawmakers that Khamenei is “personally responsible for defense, security and foreign policy matters” according to Articles 110 and 176 of the regime’s Constitution. Ghalibaf also reminded that previous governments have appointed key ministers with the approval of Khamenei and added, “Mr. Raisi has said that he requested the permission of the Leader for ministers in security-related areas such as the ministry of intelligence and the Leader granted it.”

Ghalibaf made these comments after an MP questioned the qualification of Esmail Khatib, Raisi’s candidate for the intelligence ministry. Khatib has been a close ally of Raisi for a long time. Khatib served as the counter-intelligence chief of the judiciary while the Raisi was the head of the judiciary. He has also been the head of security of the Astan-e Quds Foundation, a corrupt financial institution overseen by Khamenei that has usurped billions of dollars’ worth of Iran’s assets and wealth. Raisi was the former caretaker of the foundation.

Ghalibaf’s remarks basically mean that the Majlis’ vote of confidence will have no effect and Khamenei has already made his decision on key members of Raisi’s cabinet.

Mohsen Zanganeh, MP from Torbat Heydarieh, echoed Ghalibaf’s remarks by saying, “The Majlis can give a positive of negative vote, but ministers who are presented at the security level will get approval by the leader.”

Zanganeh continued by reciting Khatib’s achievements under the regime and stressed that there are “none others like him” in Raisi’s suggestive ministers.

Raisi presented his candidate ministers to the Majlis two weeks ago. His cabinet is filled with regime officials with strong ties to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and who are known for terrorism, human rights violations, or financial corruption.

Among his ministers is Hosseing Amir Abdollahian, nominated for the foreign ministry role. Amir Abdollahian has a long history in the regime’s diplomacy and was very close to terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a January 2020 attack in Iraq. In recent remarks, Amir Abdollahian pledged to “continue Soleimani’s path” in his diplomacy.

It is worth noting that in last year’s parliamentary elections, the regime did everything to make sure the structure of Majlis was in line with the views and policies of Khamenei. According to IMNA, the news agency of the Majlis, most ministers will receive the parliament’s vote of confidence.

Khamenei has a history of vetoing the decisions of the Majlis. In 2019, after nationwide protests erupted in response to a sudden hike in the price of gasoline by the government, the Majlis passed an urgent bill to rollback the government’s decision. Khamenei intervened and prevented the Majlis from proceeding with the legal process of implementing the bill.

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