Iran’s Reelected President Rouhani Appoints Two Female Vice Presidents after Criticism

Iranian Vice President (who has now been reappointed) Masoumeh Ebtekar delivers a speech during the Heads of States' Statements Ceremony of the Cop21 World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Le Bourget, Paris, France, 30 November 2015. Photo: Etienne Laurent/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • Iran’s President Rouhani has appointed 2 women among his 12 Vice Presidents.
  • Rouhani has just started his second term, after winning reelection in a landslide victory in May.
  • After announcing an all-male Cabinet a day earlier, he has come under criticism, leading by reformists who had backed him for the Iranian Presidency.
  • Among the newly appointed Vice Presidents is Massoumeh Ebtekar, who was the spokesperson of the students who stormed the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, and became Iran’s first female Vice President in 1997.
  • Rouhani has reappointed Eshaq Jahangiri as his First Vice President.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who has just started his second consecutive term, has appointed two female Vice Presidents following criticism by reformists that he did not nominate any women for his new Cabinet.

Rouhani was inaugurated last week for his second presidential term after he won reelection by a landslide in May.

A moderate cleric, in Iran’s presidential election, Rouhani defeated hardliner Ebrahim Raisi with the backing of reformists, promising to improve civil liberties and relations with the West.

Since 2009, Iran has had 12 Vice Presidents. During Rouhani’s first term (2013-2017), three of his Vice Presidents were female.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani kisses the holy book of Koran (R) as judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani (L) gestures, after being sworn-in for his second four-year term of presidency at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, 05 August 2017. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Female Vice Presidents

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, whose second four-year term began on August 3, 2017, appointed on Wednesday two women, Massoumeh Ebtekar and Laya Joneydi, as two of his Vice Presidents, AFP reported.

After he announced his new Cabinet on Tuesday, which turned out to be all male, the reelected Iranian President came under fire by reformists who had backed him for a second turn.

According to their criticism, he had bowed to pressure by the religiously conservative establishment in appointing no female Cabinet members.

With Rouhani’s new appointments on Wednesday, Massoumeh Ebtekar will serve as his Vice President and Head of the Center for Women and Family Participation Affairs, while Laya Janidi was appointed Vice President for Legal Affairs.

Another woman, Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, was named as a special adviser for citizens’ rights.

Massoumeh Ebtekar is known internationally for her role as the spokesperson of the university students who stormed and took over the US Embassy in Tehran during the 1980 US Embassy hostage crisis.

She was also one of Rouhani’s Vice Presidents during his first term, and Head of the Department of Environment.

Ebtekar became the first female Vice President of Iran back in 1997 when she served in the same capacity as environment head under President Mohammad Khatami until 2005.

Rouhani still has several more deputy positions to fill, and it was not immediately clear if any more of them would go to women. He is said to face a difficult balancing act in seeking to address popular pressure for reform while assuaging conservative factions.

Incumbent First Vice President

In an announcement on Tuesday, Iran’s reelected President Rouhani reappointed Eshaq Jahangiri to the position of First Vice President.

Rouhani praised Jahangiri for his services during his first four year in the post, The Tehran Times reported.

Jahangiri contested the May presidential election but withdrew his candidacy in favor of Rouhani.

Jahangiri was Iran’s Minister of Industries and Mines from 1997 until 2005, under former President Mohammad Khatami.

He has also served as the Governor of Isfahan Province and a member of Parliament for two terms.

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