Iran ex-FM Zarif: New cabinet opening up space for young experts

Iran’s former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had a pivotal role in gathering momentum for the newly-elected President Massoud Pezeshkian in his electoral campaigns, says the new cabinet members will be picked from among young experts.

In a meeting with members of the Iranian Entrepreneurs Association on Tuesday, Zarif said, “We are planning to form a young government, and people like me, who have had posts many times, are not supposed to get a position again in this administration.”

The former foreign minister, whose name is associated with the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord with the West, dismissed reports that he would serve as the vice president in the upcoming cabinet.

“Based on the decisions aimed at rejuvenating the administration, 60 percent of the ministers will be first-timers under 50 years old,” he revealed.

Pezeshkian won the snap presidential election on a platform of improving the ailing economy and making efforts to get the country released from the yoke of harsh US-led sanctions, among other campaign promises.

“Unfortunately, there are people in this country who have interests and do not allow us to change the status quo.” Zarif said without mentioning any name and added, “We have no choice but to confront with the interests of those people.”

As a case in point, he referred to the high commercial transit cost in Iran, saying they devour over a third of the country’s economy due to the sanctions regime.

He said, “Last year, Iran’s trade volume, including oil and non-oil products, was about 153 billion dollars, and with this account, we had to bear an imposed cost of 50 billion dollars.”

Further highlighting the repercussions of the Western punitive measures against Iran, Zarif said the new government needs to garner popular support at home in order to be able to ease the draconian sanctions and comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) money-laundering watchdog as initial steps to join the world economy.

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