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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

President Rouhani changes two ministers ahead of Iran's elections

Reuters , Wednesday 19 Oct 2016
Views: 1655
Views: 1655

Iran's ministers of culture and sport have both resigned, state media reported on Tuesday, the first major change in the cabinet of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani eight months before presidential elections.

Rouhani's bid for a second term may prove difficult as many feel the lifting of sanctions under a deal with Western powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear programme, has had no tangible effect on their daily lives. Liberals also accuse him of failing to implement promises of social reform in the Islamic Republic.

The semi-official news agencies ISNA and Tasnim quoted informed sources as saying Ali Jannati, the minister of Islamic guidance and culture, had resigned.

Jannati came under pressure from conservative clerics when the ministry of culture gave permission to singers to hold concerts in Iran's most religious cities, Qom and Mashad.

However, when he called off the concerts "to respect the views" of clerics, he found himself at odds with the president.

"No minister should succumb to any form of pressure and retreat; although the pressures are intense," Rouhani said in August.

The state news agency IRNA reported that Mahmoud Goudarzi, minister of sport and youth affairs had also tendered his resignation.

The minister's popularity was somewhat undermined by Iran's poor results in this year's Rio Olympics.

His ministry was also under investigation for alleged irregularities in the privatisation of Tehran's two main soccer clubs.

Rouhani's popularity surged after last year's deal with world powers that lifted most sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. But that easing has been slow to translate into concrete benefits for Iranians, giving some impetus to conservatives opposed to Rouhani.

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