Although the amount that has been embezzled is disputed, the case has shocked both the Education Ministry and teachers, since educators never thought a fund that was supposed to serve as a means for resolving their economic problems would have such a fate. If anything, the embezzlement scandal hastened Fani’s fall.
Thus, to prevent a repeat of the heat on the government that followed the recent scandal over excessive pay in which leaked payslips showed some senior officials had received inflated salaries, and to not give rival Principlists a pretext for launching a propaganda campaign against the government by impeaching Fani, Rouhani decided to take the fastest way out and have the education minister resign.
Finally, Rouhani’s Cabinet reshuffle also has political dimensions that verge on the personal. First of all, the resigned ministers were not Rouhani’s ideal choices. He chose them and his science minister reluctantly under pressure from the previous conservative-dominated parliament. His minister of science, however, has had the good fortune of escaping the Cabinet reshuffle.
Second, by replacing these ministers, Rouhani wants to paradoxically reduce the hard-liners’ displeasure with the country’s cultural situation. At the same time, he wants to maintain his popularity by introducing individuals who are identified with the Reformist camp in a nod to culture, art and sports enthusiasts, who are mainly young.
As such, there is no doubt that the Cabinet reshuffle will improve the chances of the success of Rouhani’s re-election campaign ahead of the upcoming presidential vote in May 2017.