November 22, 2021
Critics say President Ebrahim Raisi’s wrong choice of officials will hurt efforts to attract foreign investment and is prompting talented Iranians to emigrate.
Hossein Kashefi, the former chief of the Parties House, an umbrella organization that regulates relations among political parties, has said in an interview published by Arman newspaper on November 20 that the way Raisi is running the affairs of the state is not likely to instill hope for promising and essential change in Iran.
In recent weeks, many politicians and commentators from across Iran’s political spectrum have begun criticizing the president for inaction as prices rise and more people fall into poverty.
Kashefi said when Raisi was setting up his cabinet before his inauguration in August, only reformists were unhappy about the choices he was making, but now most of the critics of his cabinet’s makeup are conservatives, like those who rejected his latest choice for the post of education minister in parliament last week.
Raisi’s lack of success in bringing about positive change in people’s lives, which is partly because of his wrong appointments, would dissuade foreign investors from coming to Iran, while foreign investment would be crucial in overcoming the current economic crisis, which is what the people want from the president, Kashefi said.
Kashefi added that choosing the right managers and ministers is key to such improvement, but he did not talk about the negative impact of US sanctions on foreign investment in Iran. However, he vaguely pointed out that only an improvement in the country’s foreign policy could have prompted foreign investors to show an interest in Iran.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that nepotism in the Raisi administration that appears to be the most important factor leading to choosing the wrong people, and the fact that he has chosen individuals based on their kinship and political affiliation rather than their qualifications has prompted elite executive workforce to leave the country.
Raisi tweeted in response to similar criticisms following the rejection of his latest choice for the Minister of education in a November 17 tweet that he chooses his colleagues “not based on friendship or kinship or under pressure from the media,” adding that he chooses his colleagues “based on their qualifications.”
Several Twitter users rejected Raisi’s argument in their comments. One reader responded: “But your performance and your choices for your cabinet are contrary to this commitment and what you promised in your election campaign. Your cabinet ministers either lack qualifications.” Another user commented: “It is probably sheer coincidence that all of your ministers come from the Imam Sadeq University or are the sons-in-law of Tehran Mayor Alireza Zakani.”
On the same day, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s official Twitter page also posted a tweet that said, “There are elements in some universities who encourage highly talented young persons to leave the country. I say clearly that this is an act of treason.”
Users wrote tens of comments that disagreed with Khamenei’s view on the reason why young and talented Iranians leave the country for good. One user wrote: “You are the first and last reason why young people leave the country. You have ruined this country.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “They will leave their country as long as they cannot get a job unless they have connections with insiders or are the sons-in-law of well-connected people.” Many other users referred to two young elite students, Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, who have been jailed and tortured on vague political charges. Still another user reminded Khamenei in reference to similar cases: “The real traitors are those who arrest and imprison the talented people for fictitious charges without thinking of the consequences of what they do.”