President Hassan Rohani has presented his government (that is everyone apart from the Minister for Higher Education which he still has to appoint) to Parliament for confirmation.

Iranian political life is established on a dialectic between those on the one hand who support the anti-imperialist and Islamist Revolution of 1979 (the so-called “conservatives”) and those who are open to the former colonial powers (the so called “reformers”). Contrary to an idea that has gained acceptance, this division bears no relation to either individual liberties or to social conditions.

When he was a member of parliament, Sheikh Hassan Rohani was the first point of contact of the CIA and Mossad in the Iranian Revolution during the Iran – Contras affair.

Even if the Majlis confirms each cabinet minister, one at a time, the Government will probably end up being composed only of male Shi-ites who are fairly mature in age.

Until now, Sunnis (who represent between 8 – 10 % of the population) have always been appointed ministers.

The Western press is reacting strongly to the lack of diversity with respect to gender and age (the average is likely to be 58 years) of this government and seems to ignore the fact that it does not represent the Sunni minority. This is probably due to a lack of understanding of Iranian culture. In this culture, while true that for centuries now, men have traditionally held positions of responsibility, (sometimes even on an honorary basis), the top positions have often been assigned to women and occasionally to the young.

The only government to which a woman was appointed minister was the government of the anti-Imperialist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (“child” of the Revolutionary Guards). The woman appointed was Marzieh Dastjerdi, who was the Health Minister from 2009 to 2013.

A number of ministers are still in their former positions. However the Defence Minister, Hossein Dehghan, has been replaced by his deputy, Amir Hatami. The former was a Revolutionary Guard (“Conservative”), whereas the latter is a “child” of the Army.

This all-male Shiite government confirms that the male Shiite ecclesiastical apparatus (“the Reformer”) dominates political life, and this to the detriment of the Revolutionary Guards, “those conserving” all that was gained through the Revolution.

Anoosha Boralessa