Thursday, August 20, 2009

Palizdar Revisited, and the Larijanis

Does anyone remember Abbas Palizdar, whose June 2008 corruption accusations against leading figures in the Iranian establishment were widely interpreted as an opening salvo in Iran's presidential elections? Here's a little gem from Tehran Bureau:
"Though Palizdar was an ally of Ahmadinejad, he disowned him after his arrest. It is worth noting that Palizadar received help from Fatemeh Ajorlou, a Majles deputy from Karaj, a town on the western edge of Tehran. She was also arrested, but later released. On Sunday August 16, 2009, Ahmadinejad introduced Ajorlou as one of the three female ministers in his new cabinet."

The main point of the article, by the way, is that nepotism may be making a comeback in Iran, and it particularly highlights the influence of the Larijani clan:
"here are five brothers, two of whom sit at the very top of two of the three branches of government. Ali Larijani is the Speaker of the Majles, while Sadegh Larijani is the new chief of the judiciary. A third brother, Mohammad Javad (Ardeshir) has been an important conservative ideologue who was deputy for international affairs to Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Sadegh Larijani’s predecessor. A fourth brother, Dr. Mohammad Bagher Larijani, is the head of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and a one time deputy health minister. Until two years ago, the fifth brother, Fazel Larijani, was Iran’s cultural attaché to Canada.

"Add to this list a first maternal cousin, Ahmad Tavakkoli, whose mother and the Larijanis’ are sisters, and a maternal uncle, Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, a powerful conservative cleric, and one has all the makings of a true dynasty. Tavakkoli is an influential right-wing Majles deputy and head of its research center. Tavakkoli is also a two-time presidential candidate, and was Minister of Labor in the administration of Mir Hossein Mousavi in the 1980s."



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