Leaders of Iran

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Khatami drops Velayati from Cabinet - 1997

Khatami drops Velayati from Cabinet: "Khatami drops Velayati from Cabinet
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
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ÎDUBAI, Aug 13: Ali Akbar Velayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, who dominated Iran's Foreign Affairs for the last 16 years has been dropped from the Cabinet by new President Mohammed Khatami.

Khatami has opted for a change with caution in naming the 22 Ministers in a letter presented to the 270-member Parliament, which will debate the nominations from next Tuesday and give its final decision the day after.

Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Kamal Kharrazi, a technocrat who had his higher education in the United States (US) has replaced Velayati, apparently in the hope he would help to mend ties with the US.

The Cabinet also named Ataollah Mohajerani as the Minister for Culture and Islamic Guidance which oversees media and films.

Mohajerani, former Vice-President, came under fire three years ago for advocating direct talks with Washington, which once called Iran a `rogue state' for allegedly backing terrorism, a charge Tehran has always denied.

Iran's foreign policy, however, has been laid down by the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who has not favoured any improvement in the relations with Washington.

Velayati has not been completely sidelined as he has been named as a member of the Guidance Council, a key decision-making outfit headed by former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

As Foreign Minister since 1981, Velayati, a pediatrician by training, articulated Iran's external affairs policy through some of the turbulent years after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

After becoming Foreign Minister under the Government of Hossein Mussavi in 1981, 52-year-old Velayati has been so much identified with the previous Governments that Khatami perhaps thought it best to replace him, observers said.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. "

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