Iran's Labor Minister Hojat Abdolmaleki. File Photo

Iran's Labor Minister Hojat Abdolmaleki, who has hired numerous friends for top positions.

'Big Jobs To Small People' Stirs Controversy In Iran

1/12/2022

A hardliner Iranian lawmaker has accused the labor minister of treating his ministry's resources as spoils of war and giving top jobs to his friends.

Naser Mousavi Largani said Labor Minister Hojat Abdolmaleki, a former state television showman, approaches his work as if it is a television game. He further accused the minister of employing individuals whose credentials have been rejected by the intelligence organizations.

According to Rouydad24 website, Largani said that as Abdolmaleki knew he could not officially employ those individuals, he appointed them as caretakers of various departments of the labor ministry.

The website wrote that "Surprisingly, instead of supporting their colleague, other lawmakers at tried to persuade Largani to drop the issue against the labor minister.

Meanwhile another scandal broke out on Tuesday as Iranians on social media slammed the appointment of former state TV chief Abdolali Aliasgari as the head of Iran's most important petrochemical plant that reportedly provides some 20 percent of Iran's much needed hard currency. Critics said he is neither an expert in industrial management nor in the petrochemical industry. Others argued: "Who else in Iran is in charge of anything based on education or expertise?"

Regarding the labor minister, activists on social media had disclosed a letter he wrote to the country's Administrative and Employment Office asking it to disregard the standards about employment and approve the hiring of 12 of his friends who would occupy top posts at the ministry. Meanwhile, the IRGC Intelligence Organization reportedly arrested one of those hired by Abdolmaleki on charges of financial corruption, but the minister intervened and promised to fire the man.

In August, when 191 lawmakers endorsed Abdolmaleki's credentials as minister, a few lawmakers, including Largani, warned that those who voted for the showman will regret their decision soon.Largani argued that "70 million people's livelihood depends on this ministry in one way or another as it is in charge of the national Pension Fund as well as being tasked with boosting employment in Iran." He added that the ministry owns several companies including the Isfahan Steel Mill and it cannot be run by a young man who lacks the necessary experience and expertise.

Other lawmakers including Hassan Lotfi, a member of the Social Affairs Committee of the Majles, have also criticized Abdolmaleki for nepotism and "giving big jobs to small people."

In Monday's session of parliament Largani said that not only Abdolmaleki has hired people who have no relevant skills or experience, he has also fired some of the experienced managers at the labor ministry. Meanwhile, Largani criticized Abdolmaleki for saying that as labor minister he is not responsible for creating jobs. "What you are doing is bad for the president's reputation," he said.

Largani said that the Minister was breaking the law and he, as a lawmaker, will oppose him with all that he has in his power.

Nepotism and giving big jobs to friends is also an issue in Tehran Municipality. According to ILNA, on Tuesday, Mehdi Eghrarian, a member of the Tehran City Council criticized Mayor Alireza Zakani for disorderly hirings. He particularly criticized the mayor for appointing individuals from his circle of friends and family as the head of the Municipality's Welfare, Social Services and Partnerships Organization. Eghrarian said that a series of employments have taken place at the Tehran Municipality that do not conform to rules and regulations.

"We cannot constantly talk about the importance of laws and violate the same laws at the same time," he added.

Again, in the same way that hardliner lawmakers stopped the debate about the labor minister, the Chairman of the Tehran City Council, Mehdi Chamran insisted that the discussion about illegal employments at the municipality should stop at once.

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