Leaders of Iran

Monday, December 27, 2004

Dr. Hassan Sobhani on the Budget January 2003

Iran International Magazine - On Agenda: "

In order to improve the structure of the national budget, politicians should approve of expert advice when drawing up the budget agenda – uninfluenced by political considerations.

Dr. Hassan Sobhani, Member of Parliament from Damghan and member of the Budget, Planning and Evaluations Committee of Parliament, believes that since budget deficit has always been one of government’s major problems, the 2003 budget forecast must carefully and correctly consider earnings and place emphasis on the reduction of the state’s current expenditure.

Since there are numerous unfinished construction projects, the completion of these must be expedited, especially in the area of water and agriculture.

"The budget management system must move in the direction of change and gradually come to possess fewer restrictions."
Other priorities which should be carefully considered for the 2003 budget include provision of state expenditure from tax revenues and prevention of borrowing either on the national level – through the distribution of stocks – or from international markets. Improvement in budget structure plays a central role in adjustment of the state budget and is not a matter which may be concluded by holding sessions on implementation of regulations, rather it must be resolved through expert assistance and consideration of economic and social realities.

Experts must understand the issues involved realistically and put forward their proposals within the framework of the budget. Politicians on the other hand are obliged to approve the proposals without bringing political issues into the picture.

State companies follow their own particular rules and regulations but when possible the state must hand over these companies to the private sector, and the companies that ought to stay within the government have to take a more defensive stance by being made more resourceful and structured through implementation of tougher regulations related to their financial organizations, improvement of efficiency and by taking a more active role in increasing their stock profits and tax payment.

To prevent budget deficits, the government earnings must be forecasted on a more pragmatic basis and there should be attempts to find new and sensible sources of income. The government must identify and utilize new and untapped tax resources – disregarded due to bureaucracy or other reasons. The current construction expenditure of the government must be classified and prioritized to help increase the state's general budget in line with realistic earnings – or if that is not the case reduce spending by abandoning low priority projects. In this way a logical balance can be achieved between earnings and expenditure and budget deficits will be avoided.

Currently, total expenditure is four times more than construction expenditure within the government’s general budget. Steps have to be taken to alter this imbalance in favor of construction expenditure.

Iran’s budget management system has been rigid and authoritarian in the past decades and it must change and get stripped of it restrictions. It must not allow the Iranian economy to be under state influence either. Rules and regulations must be enacted to prevent public savings from becoming available to state companies so that the government may gradually find its foothold and become capable of managing the economy of the country."

Mohammad-Javad Larijani criticises 'weak' foreign policy

IranMania News: "Former deputy FM criticises 'weak' foreign policy

Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 2002 IranMania.com
TEHRAN, Dec 3 (AFP) - A prominent official in the conservative judiciary has hit out at Tehran's foreign policy and said opportunities had been missed for ties to be restored with Washington, newspapers reported Tuesday.

Mohammad-Javad Larijani, deputy chief of the judiciary's international affairs department, also regretted the outcome of the 1979 takeover of the US embassy as well as the sentencing to death of Salman Rushdie.

In comments carried by the press, Larijani said that during a secret 1986 visit to Tehran by former US national security advisor Robert McFarlane, Iran "had a good opportunity to positively respond to this move by the United States, because the US wanted to establish ties with Iran".

However he was quoted as saying the moves, as part of the Iran-Contra affair, were hijacked by Israel.

"We should have plans in our foreign policy and execute our plans bravely. I believe that we should take risks over Iraq and the Persian Gulf," he said, without elaborating.

On the 1979 takeover of the US embassy by radical Islamic students, who held the embassy's staff hostage for 444 days and sparked a severing of Iranian-US relations, the conservative official voiced regret over how the incident panned out.

"Attacks and protests by students against an embassy are a natural act across the world. But when the government joined them, the incidents that followed were hasty decisions which harmed our interests," he said.

"We should be realistic and see the disadvantages."

And on the case of British author Rushdie, the subject of a fatwa, or religious decree, by the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini calling for his death, he also voiced regret over the damage to Iran's image.

"The imam's fatwa was reflected in the world in way which created a bad image of our system.

"Imam Khomeini said that 'as a cleric, I have expressed my opinion about Salman Rushdie and his books, it is up to the government of Iran to follow nation's interest,'" he said.

"My understanding of the Imam's remarks was that we should announce to the world that we have no intention of ordering the killing or harming of Rushdie," he asserted.

Larijani did not single out current Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi in his criticism, saying that policy weaknesses were also present during the tenure of Ali Akbar Velayati, the former long-serving foreign minister.

"The inability to take risks in our foreign policy does not belong only to Kharazi: this has existed since Velayati's time," he said, regretting the failed efforts to the contrary by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani."

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Netiran>Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Internal Affairs>Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures: "Date Added:Dec 11 2003 Print Version

Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures

Jam-e-Jam, Daily Newspaper, Vol. 4, No. 1033, Dec. 11st, 2003, Page 8
By : Farshad Mehdipoor
Word Count : 2020

Deputy Head of judiciary for international affairs Mohammad Javad Larijani is a conservative politician but he sometimes speaks differently from other conservatives. In an interview with Jam-e-Jam, he comments on Iran's human rights challenges, Iran-US ties and the seventh legislative elections. Larijani calls on the conservatives to forget about their prominent forces and let younger ones run for poll. In that case, he believes, that 50-60 new conservative lawmakers will wean seats in Majlis.
Mohammad Javad Larijani

We met Dr Mohammad Javad Larijani in a rainy evening. We passed through scattered buildings to reach the office of the 54-year-old politician. An attractive white Benz led us to the office. The mathematician and philosopher, Dr Larijani warmly received us in his office. He exchanged pleasantry with us. We talked about Iran's human rights record, Iran-US ties and the Feb 2004 parliamentary poll. Asked to tell us his prediction about legislative elections, he quipped that his predictions always prove wrong!

Q: After nuclear crisis, Iran's human rights record has caught attention worldwide in recent months. The United Nations General Assembly is poised to examine Iran's human rights record. What do you think about the recent events?

A: We have to deal with two aspects of human rights. The first aspect is Iran's human rights record while the second one is politically-motivated attack on our country under the cover of human rights. We are cooperative about the former but resist against the latter. The United Nations may be pitted against us to issue a resolution. We will show cooperation so long as no resolution is worded against us.

Q: Where do these pressures stem from?

A: We will have our vulnerability undermined if we improve our system. But the West is suffering from two fatal diseases; the West considers itself superior to others and the West is not tolerant of Islam. For example, secularists in France are opposed to headscarf at schools. How can the West criticize Iran for its human rights record while it is the origin of fascism, belligerency, colonialism and dominance? No common sense accepts such gesture from the West. Our positions are clear.

Q: Our judiciary is criticized for being more kind toward the Westerners. For instance, Europeans were promised to visit Iran's prisons to dispel any doubt (The criticisms mostly come from the reformists). To what extent do you accept such criticism?

A: Such criticism is not correct. No country opens up its prisons. The lawmakers and some foreign delegations are allowed to visit the prisons. But there exists no absolute freedom for visiting prisons in the world. The UN delegates who officially come to Iran can visit the prisons under aegis of cooperation on part of the judiciary. All these visits lie within the framework of diplomatic interactions and the foreign delegates are invited by the Foreign Ministry.

Q: Do you think that Iran's human rights record is snowballing into a challenge like the nuclear crisis?

A: We will not face any crisis for human rights because we are accustomed to human rights resolutions against our country. The important thing for us is the West's milder position toward us. The West has always chastised us relying in its anti-Islamism sentiment and the nuclear energy and human rights have served as its fronts. They failed to reach any objective by focusing on Iran's nuclear ambitions but they have managed to pass a contradictory resolution against Iran's human rights record. The resolution is unlikely to win endorsement at the United Nations General Assembly. This onslaught is too meager to become a crisis against Iran.

Q: Don't you think that we may give them pretext to feed the pressures?

A: I do not approve of the idea of "pretext". We have our faults and we have to account for them. They are not "pretexts". We have to establish justice in the country for administration. Today, the West has based its attacks on Islamic teachings. They insist on secularist views and highlight Iran's alleged fight with civilization. Everything is clear today. Of course we have to familiarize our citizens with their civil rights. At the same time, we should take into account that the West assault on us targets Islam. We have to define our judicial regulations and clarify our regulations about presence of jury at press tribunals. Our laws can head off threats. Regarding freedom of expression, I have to say that we need define boundaries for such freedom. Freedom of expression should not become a cover for insult against Islam and Quran.

Q: We have not defined ourselves to the world as we should. The delegates our judiciary sends abroad are not influential and powerful enough. What can be done in this regard?

A: We have not had coordination in the judiciary for interaction with the world and the judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has moved to lift the barriers. In that case, we can use the experiences of others and introduce ourselves to the world and defend our judicial system. Our judiciary has launched widespread activities over the past 7-8 months. Anyhow, I acknowledge that our interaction with the world has been weaker than the executive and legislative powers. I do not approve of sending delegates of the same opinion because compulsive equation is not good. The judges should not raise political issues.

Q: Now I want to go beyond human rights. You talked about normalization of ties with the United States several months ago. Where is Iran-US interactions headed for under the present circumstances?

A: Both sides favor normalization of bilateral ties but the United States should deserve it. The American leaders are too rude and impolite to deserve any negotiation. Our foreign diplomacy further focuses on the enemies and the strategies we have to adopt in their face. But I do not give any positive assessment of Iran-US ties. Washington has opted for wrong war-mongering policies and such behaviors do not herald any good. What can we do then? We have to safeguard our national interests and do not fuel tensions. The Americans are trying to keep tensions high but we have to be careful and avoid any inflammation of tensions. I hope that George W. Bush would be crushed in next presidential elections so that the Americans are emancipated from his negligence. Adolph Hitler, Changeez the Conqueror and Alexander Macedonian were like Bush but all of them fell. I am hopeful of the future because I am sure that the US policies will founder.

Q: The United States has encircled Iran from all sides and the Islamic Republic is the sole unconquered spot in the region. What doctrine do you think the United States will adopt for the future of Iran and the Middle East region?

A: Iran is not totally beleaguered by the United States but we have to note that the US doctrine for the Middle East is a Zionist one because the Zionists are thirsty for reorganization of the region. So, we have to see obliteration of Israel or Zionist dominance on the region. This double- choice question is the start of a failure. The United States cannot reshape the region so it has to change its doctrine or tone down its rhetoric. I think that the US would opt for the second option without putting behind its expansionism.

Q: How do you think enraged anti-American sentiments sway US doctrine for the region?

A: The United States has never been so disgusting and the Muslims' abhorrence with this country is running deep. George Bush is very angry at the opinion polls and so it feigns oversight. The public opinion poses a major challenge to the United States and their plans would be hindered.

Q: But election rivals of President Bush do not adopt positions much different from him regarding Iran. How can the US presidential elections affect Iran?

A: The US presidential vote will not significantly affect our relations and the Zionists are investing in Bush's victory to have their views fixed.

Iran's atomic policy was good and we won the match. We do not seek to develop atomic bomb and accusing Iran of attempts for making nuclear bomb has no legal standing. We should know that we can serve our national interests by continuing our efforts for peaceful nuclear energy.

Q: Now I want to seize the moment and ask you questions about the seventh legislative elections.

In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel you talked about emergence of pragmatist forces. Did you mean birth of any third current?

A: I talked about "pragmatists" because the people do not approve of factional wrangling between the rightists and the leftists. The leftist faction has failed to prove good administration in the past years. President Khatami has undertaken valuable measures but now more qualified forces should jump to the fray. The pragmatists rely on the Islamic nature of the establishment and the Constitution to present a more modern civil structure. Changing the Constitution for better administration is a mistake because the same law has its own vacuums. We have to accept the fact that administration of a country is not a piece of cake and we have experienced managers to offer ideas. We do not need any secularist revolution and we have to boost our internal balance under the auspices of the Islamic system to have a more efficient establishment.

Q: Do you find any such development within the conservative camp?

A: I have advised the rightists to close their eyes on their prominent figures and let new forces run.

Q: Do they constitute the third current?

A: I do not label them the "third" but we have to let them grow from the heart of political forces. The factional affiliation of these forces is not important and they have to rely on efficiency of the system to win the hearts and minds in the society. The people would vote those who can present a more efficient system. Of course we should not allow political bickering overshadow efficiency preoccupations.

Q: Do you think that the conditions are becoming emotional?

A: The people show mature behavior but parties have not succeeded in our country. I expected the Islamic Iran Participation Front to be a rational and modern party but it is on the wane. We have to wonder why parties do not take shape in the country. The people bear grudge of the parties and that is a weak point for our country.

Q: Why do you think the reformist faction is on the decline?

A: The IIPF did not go beyond the boundaries of an election headquarters and their slogans did not develop. At the beginning the people were to some extent sympathizing with them but now they question their competence. When some reformists threatened to step down I was very happy because their resignation was acknowledgement of their inefficiency. The reformist faction was moving as if a plane running on the streets. After the May 23, 1997 presidential elections, the privatization drive did not make any progress and the government became more obstreperous. The reformists could have reached better results had they not get themselves involved in political wrangling.

Q: What do you think about the outcome of seventh legislative elections?

A: I predict that the rightists will win 50 to 60 more seats to form a majority or at least powerful minority.

Q: As the last question, I want to know your opinion about the possible influence of the legislative poll on the next presidential elections?

A: Some politicians in our country are opportunists and they say they will boycott the legislative elections. They are afraid of defeat in the poll. We want brave politicians to offer modern views. That is a wrong idea to elect a president from the majority faction of the next parliament. Fearful politicians follow up such objective. We do not need opportunists and we want valorous president to heal the wounds."

Speaker Vote Gholam-Ali Hadad Adel196 Hassan Sobhani 55

Al Bahhar.com - Home: "In-law of supreme leader voted conservative-majority parliament speaker

29-05-2004 12:40 G.M.T. TEHRAN (AFP)
Iran's new conservative parliament voted in an in-law of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as its speaker, the first time in the 25-year history of the Islamic republic that a non-cleric has held the post.

Gholam-Ali Hadad Adel, 59, whose daughter is married to Khamenei's son, beat off just one rival -- Hassan Sobhani, also a conservative -- by winning 196 out of the 266 votes cast in the 290-seat Majlis. Sobhani won 55 votes, according to details of the voting carried on state radio.

Religious conservatives hold around 200 of the 290 seats in parliament after overturning the outgoing reformist majority in controversial February polls from which large numbers of their opponents were disqualified.

Another 40 MPs have formed an independent bloc regarded as closer to the conservatives than the reformers.

The previous parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi -- a close ally of embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami -- lost his seat in February's elections.

Hadad Adel, who holds a doctorate in philosophy and entered politics relatively late in life after teaching physics at university, contested the polls as head of the Builders of an Islamic Iran party.

He first entered parliament during the 2000 elections, when powerful conservatives moved to annul some 700,000 votes in favour of the reformers.

His party contested this year's controversial polls -- branded as rigged by outgoing reformists -- on a platform of respect for Islam mixed with a pragmatic approach to dealing with Iran's economic problems.

The previous reformist-run parliament was dogged by bitter disputes with regime hardliners as deputies attempted to push through a wealth of social, political and economic changes."

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Parliament>Who Represents Tehran in Majlis?

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Parliament>Who Represents Tehran in Majlis?: "Who Represents Tehran in Majlis?

Hamshahri, Daily Newspaper, No. 3391, May. 27th, 2004
By : Mohammad Hassan Ruzitalab
Word Count : 2241

Analysts are of the view that the Feb 2004 legislative elections lacked any vestige of democracy because reformist aspirants were barred from running.
Consequently,the voter turnout hit its record low in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.Voter apathy was significant in Tehran with 30 percent of the eligible voters casting ballots.The conservatives finally swept the elections and grabbed the majority of seats.

The conservative-led Hamshahri, the mouthpiece of Tehran City Hall, offers a background of the 29 candidates who won the elections in the capital. One nominee will be elected in the run-off vote.

1.Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel topped the list offered by the Developers of Islamic Iran. He teaches philosophy at Tehran University and is known as a cultural figure in the Islamic Republic. Haddad-Adel won a seat in the former reformist-led parliament and led the minority faction. He always kept mum in the face of reformist lawmakers. Haddad-Adel who was the top vote-getter in Tehran has been voted as the speaker. Despite being very fond of philosophy and culture, he is a staunch supporter of Isalmic technocratism. He says the conservative-led parliament intends to create an Islamic Japan in Iran. Analysts are of the view that Haddad-Adel will abandon politics to turn back to culture once his term ends in Majlis. He says he felt obliged to run for parliament.

2.Ahmad Tavakoli is reputed for his frequent objections. He says the conservatives will defend President Mohammad Khatami more than reformists. Tavakoli represented Behshahr in the first post-revolutionary assembly and he was elected to the Presiding Board. He served the minister of labor and social affairs and also the government spokesman under Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi. Tavakoli started his protests in 1983 when he stepped down as the minister of labor in objection to the government interference in the economic sector. Tavakoli kept away from politics for nearly twenty years. Such individuals become successful journalists in Iran. Tavakoli is case in point. He founded the Resaalat newspaper in 1985. The paper turned out to be the most influential critic of Mr Moussavi. Tavakoli also established Farda paper. He contested former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 1993. Tavakoli calls for fight against economic corruption and rente-seeking. Speculation is rife that he will run for president in 2005. Tavakoli is tipped to lead the Majlis Planning and Budgeting Committee and he is willing to reexamine the fourth-five year economic development plan.

3.Hossein Mozaffar represents the symbol of failure of Islamist reformists. He introduces himself as a traditionalist leftist and is fiercely opposed to modern reformists. Mozaffar garnered the least votes to be elected as the minister of education when the fifth parliament was in place. When Morteza Haji was elected the minister of education, Mozaffar went to the Expediency Council. Then, his name was abruptly seen on the list offered by the Developers of Islamic Iran. Mozaffar was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Mujahideen Organization (IRMO). The developers accuse Mozaffar of "political cleanup" against those who did note vote Khatami in 1997. Mozaffar dismisses such allegations citing his restricted authority. Mozaffar concluded his ministerial term while he was close to being impeached.

4.Hossein Fadaie is the most associative member of the Developers. He is the secretary-general of the Assembly of War Veterans. Fadaie was also the head of election committee of the Developers. He sat with Haddad-Adel and Tavakoli at a press conference to prove his strategic position. Fadaie prefers political activities to executive posts. He served as the vice-chairman of the Board of Directors for Refah Chain Stores to prove his support for free market economy. He was a member of the IRMO and deputy commander of the revolutionary guards corps for parliamentary affairs. He stood at the bottom of the list of Tehran legislators but he can be a member of the Presiding Board.

5.Amir-Reza Khadem was sure that he will be elected. Thanks to his athletic popularity, the well-known wrestler claimed the third spot among Tehran MPs. Khadem has not bid farewell to sports and he dreams of Olympic championship. He is not a political figure but his brother Rasool was working with the election campaigning committee of Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri who was contesting Khatami in 1997. Amir-Reza Khadem will definitely lead the sports committee of Majlis Cultural Commission.

6.Saeed Abutaleb never thought to start a year of turns and twists in March 2003. A chemistry teacher, Abutaleb shot documentaries for the state-run television. Abutaleb was captured by American troops in Iraq where he was filming. The Foreign Ministry left no stones unturned to secure the release of Abutaleb and his colleague Soheil Karimi. The duo was shooting "The Mirage of Legendary Land" in Iraq. The documentary will definitely be a blockbuster in the country.

7.Mehdi Tabatabaie Shirazi garnered votes by appearing on the state television. He led congregational prayers at Mussa bin Jaafar Mosque. Tabatabaie, a member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, enjoys heavy clout with religious circles.

8.Ahmad Ahmadi is a mid-ranking cleric who got his PhD in philosophy from the United States. He backed Mohammad Khatami in the run-up to the 1997 elections. A year later, he renounced his support for Khatami. Along with Abdul-Karim Soroush, Ali Shariatmadari and Shams Al-e Ahmad, Ahmadi was an active member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. Ahmad who lead prayers at Qods Mosque teaches at Tarbiat-e-Modarres University. Outspoken ideologues like Mohsen Armin, Hashem Aghajari and Ataollah Mohajerani were his students. He will an effective member of the Majlis Higher Education Committee.

9.Nafiseh Fayyazbakhsh was little-known in Tehran. She set the cornerstone for family tribunals. Fayyazbakhsh, shoo-in to lead the women front, is a redoubted opponent of Iran's adhesion to the United Nations convention banning discrimination against women. She will definitely join the Majlis Judicial Committee.

10.Mohammad Khoshchehreh is an economist at the Majlis. He holds a PhD in economic development and planning. Khoshchehreh was an economic aide to then prime minister in the 1980s. He opposes free market economy and globalization. He claims that he can resolve the scourge of unemployment. Khoshchehreh finished 9th in Tehran.

11.Emad Afrough was an academic on the list of Developers. In protest to former university minister Mostafa Moin, he quit as a faculty member of Tarbiat-e-Modarres University. Afrough was chairman of the social committee of the Center for Strategic Research at presidential office in the early 1990s. The center was headed by Mussavi Khoini with Saeed Hajjarian leading the political committee. Afrough wrote for Asr-e Ma, the mouthpiece of IRMO. He joined the Expediency Council in 1998 to be very critical of reformists. Afrough is fiercely opposed to globalization and capitalism. He must have voted Khatami in 1997.

12.Davoud Danesh Jaafari was predicted to be among the Developers. He represented Tehran in the fifth parliament and is now the secretary of the macro-economic committee of the Expediency Council. Unlike Khoshchehreh, Jaafari calls for Iran's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). He teaches at Allamah Tabatabaie University but he is at odds with other professors. He maintains that the parliament will focus on economic woes. Jaafari looks set to head the economic committee of the parliament.

13.Ali Zakani was elected to represent the Basiji students. Zakani's fiery speech in July 1999 is unforgettable. He was also a deputy to Fadaie. Zakani opposes Iran's signature of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He believes that the Islamic Republic should quit the NPT and he has reiterated his position in his interviews.

14.Laleh Eftekhari is a member of the Association of Islamic Revolutionary Women. She is a close associate of Maryam Behrouzi who leads the Zeinab Society. Eftekhari will be silent.

15.Fazlollah Moussavi was recently introduced by the judiciary chief to sit at the Guardian Council as a jurist. The former parliament turned him down and he managed to garner half a million votes in Tehran. Moussavi is the director of the Association for Defending the Victims of Chemical Warfare. He managed to convince the Iranian authorities to erect a plaque outside the German embassy on May 11 denouncing Germany's contribution to Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons arsenal, in the latest tit-for-tat measure in a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Tehran. Moussavi will certainly serve at the Majlis Judicial Committee.

16.Fatemeh Alia is a member of the Association of War Veterans. She has been working with Vice-President Zahra Shojaie at the Center for Women Affairs. Alia will definitely sit at the Majlis Women Committee.

17.Ali Abbaspour Tehrani was initially not among the Tehran MPs. The Guardian Council recounted the ballots and Abbaspour ranked 12th. Holding a PhD in nuclear physics from Berkley University, Abbaspour does not approve of the NPT Additional Protocol. He was the chancellor of Sharif University of Technology for a period of time. He also led the Higher Education Committee of the fifth Majlis. Abbaspour who will lead the cultural committee in the parliament calls for cultural cleanup of the campuses. However, he maintains that crackdowns may give the contrary result.

18.Hossein Nejabat holds a PhD in physics and is close to Ahmad Tavakoli. When the latter launched Farda newspaper, the former was in charge of the international desk. He is the brother of ex-MP Amad Nejabat. Hossein Nejabat is a technocrat who is not controversial like his brother.

19.Hossein Sheikholeslam is more known to foreign media. He was a student loyal to Imam Khomeini but now he does not maintain friendly ties with former hostage-takers at the US embassy. After the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, Sheikholeslam served as the deputy foreign minister for political affairs for 16 years. Internet newspapers introduce Sheikholeslam as the spin doctor of Iranian foreign diplomacy, Then, he represented Iran in Syria where he boosted his ties with President Bashar al-Assad. Sheikholeslam is opposed to uranium enrichment freeze. He will be a key member of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committee.

20.Elham Aminzadeh got her PhD in law from Glasgow University. She sat the same class with Hassan Rohani who is the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. Aminzadeh was formerly working with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). She is also a member of the Association for Defending the Victims of Chemical Warfare.

21.Fatemeh Rahbar who is another female legislator is affiliated with the Islamic Coalition Society. Rahbar is now in charge of the Internet Policymaking Council at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). A candidate for Majlis Cultural Committee, Rahbar favors limited access to Internet. She may prove a controversial deputy.

22.Abbas-Ali Akhtari is a Friday Prayers leader. The mid-ranking cleric is close to influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He is also advisor to the supreme leader for international affairs. A member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, Akhtari calls for cultural development.

23.Gholam-Reza Mesbahi is a close associate to Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani. He is the spokesman for the Association of Combatant Clergy, led by Ayatollah Kani. Mesbahi is an expert in economy. He is opposed to Iran's signature of the Additional Protocol to the NPT.

24.Elias Nadern is known for his fierce opposition to globalization. He was expelled from France for his daughter observing Islamic dress code. Nadern opposes Iran's entry to the WTO and NPT Additional Protocol. His name was on the list of the Developers but he will be a member of the Independent Servants Front.

25.Mohammad Sorouri is the most obscure candidate on the list of the Developers. A former revolutionary guard, Sorouri was Iran's military attaché in Syria and Lebanon. He was influential in quelling the July 1999 student unrest. Sorouri is now a member of the Islamic Coalition Society.

26.Manouchehr Motaki has a good experience of foreign diplomacy. He earlier represented Turkman Port in the first assembly. He as also a core member of the Front Loyal to Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader. Motaki has proposed division of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee to three committees of defense, national security and foreign policy. He will be a key member of the foreign policy and national security committee.

27.Ali Riyadh was an upstart candidate on the Developers list. A former war veteran, he is now teaching at Shahid Beheshti Medical University. He is the frontrunner for the post of Health Committee.

28.Mehdi Kouchekzadeh came to the limelight when he spoke against Hashem Aghajari. Holding a PhD in irrigation, he has a lot to say about development. Kouchekzadeh is a technocrat on the Developers list.

29.Hamid-Reza Katuzian whose students never thought to see him as a deputy is now a representative in the capital. He taught "materials resistance" at university. Katuzian got his post-doctorate in mechanics from Berkley University. He is the most technocratic figure among the Developers. He was technical advisor at Iran Khodro but he fell foul of the Board of Directors. Katuzian backs free car imports. A former student loyal to Imam Khomeini, he is preparing to get a post at the Majlis Industrial Committee. The Ministry of Industries will have to take up the gauntlet thrown by Katuzian for car imports. Such challenge will definitely command the newspaper headlines."

Ahmad Sadeq Bonab Named the temporary Roads and Transport Minister

Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh announced on 4 October that Ahmad Sadeq Bonab has been appointed as the temporary roads and transport minister, IRNA reported. In parliament, 188 out of 258 members gave a no-confidence vote to Roads and Transport Minister Ahmad Khoram on 3 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 October 2004). Ramezanzadeh said Khoram is now a presidential adviser. Bonab was the deputy roads and transport minister in charge of economic affairs. Ramezanzadeh also added that the cabinet is not being treated fairly. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref criticized the timing of the interpellation, pointing out that the government is reviewing and revising the fourth development plan and the annual budget, Iranian state radio reported. BS"

Ahmad Sadeq Bonab - Iran, Afghanistan To Invest 2 Billion Dollars In Transportation Sector

Iran, Afghanistan To Invest 2 Billion Dollars In Transportation Sector: "Iran, Afghanistan To Invest 2 Billion Dollars In Transportation Sector
Tehran, Nov 21, IRNA -- The caretaker of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation said here Saturday that two billion dollars are needed to complete rail and road lines connecting Iran and Afghanistan.
Ahmad Sadeq Bonab made the remarks at a tripartite meeting of transportation officials of Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Implementation of these projects would enhance the economic development of Iran by expanding activities in the North-South freight transportation corridor, he said.

He added that to date several prominent transportation projects have been inaugurated alongside the project to develop the North-South corridor.

"Effective measures have been undertaken for implementing the transportation agreements signed between the presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan," he said.

Bonab added that construction operations on the 122-km Dogharoun-Herat highway have been completed and the highway is to be inaugurated in the near future.

He also pointed to the newly constructed Milak bridge -- also called the Silk bridge -- as an example of a project successfully undertaken by the two countries.

Iran, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan officials were present at the inaugural ceremony for the bridge which was held in the Afghan province of Nimroz on Saturday.

The construction of Herat-Maimana is another project which is due to be launched soon, he said.

The head of the Uzbek Transportation and Relations Organization, R. Fayzullayev, said that Iran, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan have agreed to boost their tripartite transportation cooperation.

"Due to the agreement, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will get access to international waters via Iran," he said.

He expressed his country's readiness to work with China via the North-South corridor.

Afghan Deputy Minister of Public Works Dr. Wali Rasouli also praised Iran's cooperation towards efforts to reconstruct Afghanistan.

He expressed his gratitude to the government of Iran for undertaking eight development projects in Afghanistan.

He said his country was eager to work with the Iranian government in the implementation of more Iran-Afghanistan road and railway projects."

Transport Ministry's Caretaker Appointed - Ahmad Sadeq Bonab

Iran Daily: "Transport Ministry's Caretaker Appointed

TEHRAN, Oct. 4--Government Spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh here Monday said the treatment meted to the cabinet has been unjustified.
Addressing his weekly press briefing, he said he did not consider it justified that a minister who had been spending over 60 billion rials in his ministry could be impeached for purchasing an audiovisual system, IRNA reported.
Ramezanzadeh also announced that Ahmad Sadeq Bonab has been appointed as caretaker of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation.
Sadeq Bonab has been serving as deputy roads and transportation minister for economic affairs.
Former minister of roads and transportation Ahmad Khorram was impeached on Sunday and failed to secure the parliament's vote of confidence.
Ramezanzadeh also announced Khorram has been appointed presidential advisor.
Responding to remarks that a great deal of money was spent on the inauguration ceremony for the Imam Khomeini International airport, he said the expense could have been reimbursed in the first week if the airport was allowed to operate while the country now has to pay dearly in maintenance cost for an airport that is idle.
He confirmed that Abtahi submitted a letter of resignation to the president even before the start of the Seventh Majlis, but President Khatami has not responded to it.
Ramezanzadeh noted that since the changes made to the fourth development plan (2005-2010) stripped the plan of its effectiveness, the Management and Planning Organization has been asked to present a new version of the plan within two weeks to the cabinet."

Iran's Ambassador to Ukraine Ahmad Sadeq Bonab


Iran Ambassador Termed Iran as Ukraine's Most Important Regional Partner

Moscow, March 17, IRNA -- Iran's Ambassador to Ukraine Ahmad Sadeq Bonab stressed here Monday the need to expand bilateral and regional cooperation as he termed Iran as Ukraine's most important regional partner, according to a news story published by the Islamic Republic News Service (IRNA).

Pointing to similar stance of Iran and Ukraine towards regional and international issues, Sadeq Bonab told IRNA in an exclusive interview that the two sides enjoy "satisfactory and favorable" ties.

He voiced the two countries' political will to expand bilateral and regional cooperation and said that the prospect of bilateral cooperation in all fields, particularly in economic area is very promising.

He pointed to exchange of top level delegations between Tehran and Kiev and added that some 80 documents have been signed by the two countries in recent years.

The Iranian official cited steel, rolled steel sheets, sunflower oil, railway wagon, oil and gas pipelines, steam turbine, sheet and cardboard as among major items Ukraine exports to Iran and said that leather, hide, carpet, aluminum products, metals, fruits and dried fruits as among main goods Ukraine imports from the Islamic Republic.

He termed absence of joint sea and land borders, lack of direct banking cooperation particularly unfamiliarity of Iranian traders and industrialists with Ukrainian market as main obstacles to the development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Sadeq Bonab noted that Iran enjoys great potentials regarding export of foodstuff, clothing, petrochemicals, oil products, carpet and other commodities to Ukraine.

Touching upon measures adopted by the two countries to boost bilateral cooperation, the ambassador said that President Mohammad Khatami's recent visit to Ukraine was among the most important events in mutual relations.

He said the holding of the third session of Iran-Ukraine Joint Economic Commission is among other developments in bilateral ties and noted that the volume of trade exchanges between Iran and Ukraine has amounted to 200 million dollars this year.

Sadeq Bonab voiced appreciation for Iran's policy of detente and expanding its international cooperation, institutionalizing political exchanges and promoting parliamentary cooperation.

Apart from mutual efforts to boost cooperation between Isfahan province of Iran and Kharkov province of Ukraine, establishment of second direct flight between Tehran and Kiev and holding of the second exclusive trade fair of Iranian made products in Ukraine were among other measures taken in this respect, he said.

Highlighting expansion of cultural ties between the two sides, Bonab recalled establishment of four Iranology centers in Ukrainian universities in line with expansion of Persian language in the country.

Ukraine attaches importance to Iran which is regarded as the most important, biggest and strongest country in the region possessing ample energy resources and a very unique geographical location, he said. (SF/MM/RR)"