Rouhani Cabinet Has More US PhD’s Than Obama’s!

Yesterday’s post, Empowering the Moderates in Iran, attracted a comment from SocialInform, which mentioned another blog’s post, Iran’s president has more cabinet members with Ph.D. degrees from U.S. universities than Barack Obama does. Be sure to check out the picture, showing who they are and where they studied. The post mentioned a December 2013 article in The Atlantic which gave more details and is summarized below my signature line. My thanks to SocialInform for alerting me to this information.

Martin Hellman


Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, has more cabinet members with Ph.D. degrees from U.S. universities than Barack Obama does. In fact, Iran has more holders of American Ph.D.s in its presidential cabinet than France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, or Spain—combined. …

Does this matter? On the surface, perhaps not much. We all know how often the governments of the “best and the brightest” disappoint. And it’s important to keep in mind that many of these highly credentialed cabinet members were also active participants in former Iranian administrations and backed policies that earned Iran’s theocracy its bad name.

And let’s not forget that it is Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, who really reigns supreme. He can initiate or stop any initiative. There’s also Major General Qassem Suleimani, who …  is a product of a rural town in Iran’s interior and acquired a vast education in the battlefields and the dark alleys of terrorist plots, rather than in classrooms. …

[A similar dichotomy exists in the US so] Tehran’s reformists have a similar worry: Will Barack Obama and his international allies be able to limit the bellicose positions of radicals in their midst?

For now, the answers are speculative. But the big strategic question is whether testing Iran’s intentions through negotiations is riskier than continuing to sanction and threaten to bomb it. … The latter strategy is as risky, if not more, as one of giving a controlled and cautious chance to Tehran’s doctors to change Iran’s dangerous and ruinous policies—and redefine the politics of the Middle East. They deserve that chance. Let’s hope they succeed.

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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