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Rouhani’s Cautious Pick For Defense Minister

Iran’s new defense minister is a sign of President Hassan Rouhani’s interest in balancing moderate and conservative forces.
Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani speaks to the media following a visit to the Khomeini mausoleum in Tehran June 16, 2013. Reuters/Fars News/Seyed Hassan Mousavi   (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTX10Q4G

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presented his final list of cabinet nominees to parliament on Aug. 4, generating a heated discussion about Rouhani’s intentions and his relations with other regime centers of power. While the logical inclination has been to focus on the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, we might also look to the Ministry of Defense for early insight into Rouhani’s relationship with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), one of the regime’s most powerful organizations.

Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) dominates the state’s global military-industrial complex and plays an integral role in issues in which the IRGC is heavily invested. The United States, European Union and United Nations Security Council have all sanctioned MODAFL and its subsidiaries for their role in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs. As recently as December 2012, the United States has also targeted MODAFL for its role in arming President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

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