TEHRAN — Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has named the chairman of a state-owned foundation mostly focused on charitable causes as his first vice-president, the president’s official website said.
Muhammad Mokhber has for years headed the foundation known as Setad, or the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s order, in reference to the Islamic Republic’s late founder Imam Khomeini.
Mokhber was appointed to the position by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in 2007, following a string of official positions at the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
The Setad was originally founded in the late 1980s to manage confiscated properties following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It has since turned into a charitable organization with stakes in various industries, including health, and its Barekat Foundation produced Iran’s first local COIVID-19 vaccine project.
The vaccine received emergency approval in June from health authorities.
The Setad and Mokhber were blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury in January. Washington had said that Setad “has a stake in nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications and financial services.”
Raisi, who won a June 18 election by a landslide, takes over from Hassan Rouhani who is facing broad criticism even in his absence over his administration’s mishandling of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic.
A former judiciary chief, Raisi on Thursday took the oath of office before parliament, to which he must present a list of ministers within two weeks.
Raisi also picked Gholamhussein Esmaili, the judiciary’s spokesman during his tenure, as his chief of staff. Esmaili is under sanctions by the European Union.
Also on Sunday, Principlist MP and 2021 presidential candidate Alireza Zakani was elected as mayor of Tehran.
He won the majority of city council votes, but he cannot take
over before resigning from the parliament.
He succeeds Pirouz Hanachi, a veteran public servant with a background in urban development seen as close to the reformist camp.
Zakani has served in parliament between 2004 and 2016, and won a seat again last year.
A doctor in nuclear medicine, aged 55, he dropped out of the June presidential race in favor of Raisi.