On August 22 the Iranian regime’s parliament Speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has admitted that the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei has the final say on who will be appointed to President Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet.
Ghalibaf, a former IRGC and State Security Forces commander, told lawmakers that Khamenei is ‘personally responsible for defense, security, and foreign policy matters’ according to Articles 110 and 176 of the regime’s Constitution.
For the regime, this process is nothing new. Khamenei has approved the appointment of key ministers in previous governments. Ghalibaf said that Raisi had specifically requested Khamenei’s permission for his choice for ministers in the Ministry of Intelligence, which was swiftly granted.
Ghalibaf’s admission came after an MP had questioned how qualified the candidate for the Intelligence ministry was for the role. Esmail Khatib is Raisi’s choice, unsurprisingly since they have been close allies since Khatib worked under Raisi in the judiciary as the counter-intelligence chief.
In a previous role, Khatib had worked as the head of security in the corrupt financial institution Astan-e Quds Foundation. The Foundation, which had Raisi as a former caretaker and was controlled by Khamenei, took control of billions of dollars worth of Iran’s wealth and assets.
Ghalibaf’s remarks basically mean that the Majlis’ vote of confidence will have no effect and Khamenei has already made his decision on key members of Raisi’s cabinet.
The MP from Torbat Heydarieh, Mohsen Zanganeh backed up Ghalibaf’s admission at a parliament meeting saying that minister candidates for security positions are always approved by Khamenei, and in regards to the question of Khatib’s qualifications, Zanganeh supported his candidacy and claimed that there are ‘no others like him.’
Raisi presented his candidate ministers to the Majlis two weeks ago. His cabinet is filled with regime officials with strong ties to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and who are known for terrorism, human rights violations, or financial corruption.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who is a candidate for the foreign ministry role has a long career history as part of the regime’s diplomacy activities, was a close friend of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone attack in Iraq in January 2020. Abdollahian has reportedly pledged to ‘continue Soleimani’s path’ in his new diplomatic role.
It is worth noting that in last year’s parliamentary elections, the regime did everything to make sure the structure of Majlis was in line with the views and policies of Khamenei. According to IMNA, the news agency of the Majlis, most ministers will receive the parliament’s vote of confidence.
While Khamenei has often approved the appointments for new ministers, he has a history of rejecting decisions that the Majlis (parliament) have made. After widespread demonstrations took place in 2019 following the government’s decision to suddenly raise the price of gasoline, the Majlis attempted to pass an urgent bill to combat the decision. Khamenei stepped in to prevent the bill from being implemented.