Son-in-law of Iran President Rouhani faces nepotism claims

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (centre) has appointed his son-in-law, Mr Kambiz Mehdizadeh, as the head of Iran's geological survey.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (centre) has appointed his son-in-law, Mr Kambiz Mehdizadeh, as the head of Iran's geological survey.PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN (AFP) - 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 (Dec 16) to the resignation of a senior official, according to conservative media.

The appointment of Mr Kambiz Mehdizadeh, who is in his early 30s and reportedly married to Mr Rouhani's daughter in a low-key wedding this August, was widely criticised by Iranians on social media.

It also triggered the resignation of Mr Jafar Sargheyni, head of the mining section in the industries ministry, who criticised "unprofessional appointments" without directly naming Mr Mehdizadeh, the conservative Tasnim news agency reported.

Mr Mehdizadeh is a PhD student in petroleum engineering, and has also served as an adviser to Iran's Oil Ministry, taekwondo 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 Mr 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.