TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's president said Sunday that he will nominate three women to join his new Cabinet, a move that could produce the first female ministers in the country in over 30 years.
The announcement appears to be an attempt by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to enlist the support of Iranian women as he fends off criticism from the opposition that his June re-election was fraudulent. The appointments seem unlikely to appease reformists since both women he named Sunday are fellow hard-liners.
Ahmadinejad said on state television he would appoint Marzieh Vahid Dastgerdi, a 50-year-old gynecologist, as health minister and Fatemeh Ajorlu, a 43-year-old lawmaker, as minister of welfare and social security. He did not name the third woman but said he will nominate at least one more female minister to the Cabinet.
Every minister has to be approved by the parliament. Some lawmakers have criticized Ahmadinejad for not consulting with them prior to making his nominations.
Ahmadinejad also named cleric Haidar Moslehi as the new intelligence minister Sunday. Moslehi currently serves has the head of the department of endowment and charity affairs. The president said the ministers of industry and cooperation will maintain their posts and the remaining names will be announced Wednesday.
Iran's Cabinet has 21 ministers and 12 vice presidents. Ahmadinejad currently has a female vice president on his Cabinet who is in charge of the environment.
Iran's last female minister, Farrokhroo Parsay, served from 1968 to 1977. She was executed on charges of corruption after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought hard-line Islamists to power.