Son-in-law of Iran president faces nepotism claims

The appointment of President Hassan Rouhani's son-in-law as head of Iran's geological survey has renewed accusations of nepotism and led on Sunday to the resignation of a senior official. (File/AP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Son-in-law of Iran president faces nepotism claims

  • The appointment of Kambiz Mehdizadeh was widely criticized by Iranians on social media
  • Iranians on social media renewed criticism of nepotism that had spread last year with the hashtag "#good-genes"

TEHRAN: The appointment of President Hassan Rouhani's son-in-law as head of Iran's geological survey has renewed accusations of nepotism and led on Sunday to the resignation of a senior official, according to conservative media.
The appointment of Kambiz Mehdizadeh, in his early thirties and reportedly married to Rouhani's daughter in a low-key wedding this August, was widely criticised by Iranians on social media.
It also triggered the resignation of Jafar Sargheyni, head of the mining section in the industries ministry, who criticised "unprofessional appointments" without directly naming Mehdizadeh, the conservative Tasnim news agency reported.
Mehdizadeh is a PhD student in petroleum engineering, who has also served as an advisor to Iran's oil ministry, taekwando federation and national youth organisation, Tasnim said.
Iranians on social media renewed criticism of nepotism that had spread last year with the hashtag "#good-genes" -- a reference to the son of a prominent reformist politician who attributed his business success to inheriting "good genes" from his parents.
"I had no idea even sons-in-law could inherit #good_genes!," wrote one Twitter user on Sunday in reference to Mehdizadeh's appointment.
Another online campaign this summer called on senior officials to come clean about the privileges their children enjoy, particularly those studying in the United States and other Western countries.
The "#Where_is_your_kid" campaign pressured several government figures to respond, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who said his children had returned to Iran after studying abroad.


Syria’s Kurds criticise Damascus ‘threats’

Syrian Defense Minister Ali Ayoub, above, said the government is determined to return the Kurdish-led areas. (AFP)
Updated 8 min 19 sec ago
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Syria’s Kurds criticise Damascus ‘threats’

  • Syrian defence minister made the remarks during a press conference on Monday
  • SDF said the remarks expose the government’s divisive plans

OMAR OIL FIELD, Syria: Syria’s Kurds have criticized the “threatening language” of the Damascus regime after it pledged to retake northeastern areas they control by reconciliation or by force.

The minority have largely stayed out of Syria’s war, instead carving out a de-facto autonomous region across a large swathe of northern and northeastern Syria.

That region is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces who have been battling the Daesh group with backing from a US-led coalition.

Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub on Monday said his government would recapture all areas held by the SDF “in one of two ways: a reconciliation agreement or... by force.”

In a statement late Monday, the semi-autonomous administration slammed his comments.

“The Syrian defense minister’s statement regarding the SDF... reflects the continuation of the racist and sterile policy that has led Syria to this disastrous situation,” it said in a statement.

“The use of threatening language against the SDF who have liberated and protected the north and east of Syria from terrorists only serves those forces working to divide Syria,” it said.

US President Donald Trump’s announcement in December of a pullout of all US forces from Syria shocked the Kurds and sent them grappling to mend fences with Damascus.

Dialogue between both sides has been ongoing, but has failed to bear fruit.

Damascus rejects Kurdish self-rule and wants a return of government institutions to oil-rich SDF-held areas.

The Kurds want protection from a long-threatened Turkish offensive, but seek some form of decentralization from Damascus.

“The autonomous administration... stands by its position of the need for a solution and dialogue within the Syrian framework for all pending issues,” the Kurdish authorities said.

“But we want all sides to know that we, while choosing the political solution, we will spare no effort in the legitimate defense of our rights if necessary,” he said.

Eight years into a war that has killed more than 370,000 people, the Damascus regime controls almost two-thirds of the country after a series of victories against rebels and jihadists.

But the SDF-held region, a northwestern jihadist bastion and border areas held by Turkey’s Syrian proxies remain beyond its control.