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Rouhani sticks to same old insiders in disappointing cabinet reshuffle

President Hassan Rouhani’s choices to lead four key ministries emerged from a faulty process that must be replaced with a merit-based system that brings in fresher and younger faces.

The administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has undergone significant changes during his second tenure in office, which began in August 2017, particularly in recent months. The developments have laid bare the need for a new generation of qualified officials to helm ministries and other high-level state-run entities that will do more than preserve the status quo.

In early August, Rouhani’s Labor Minister Ali Rabiei, a former intelligence officer who had also served as an adviser to former President Mohammad Khatami, was impeached by members of parliament after serving for five years. It was the second ousting of a major state figure after former Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif, who had led many of Iran’s major financial institutions in the decades before, was fired two weeks earlier. He was seen as responsible for a disastrous attempt in April to fix the rate of the rial to rescue the national currency, in free-fall due to returning US sanctions. Even as his policies entailed many repercussions, Seif was made presidential adviser in monetary and banking affairs amid much criticism.

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