A group of protesters chant slogans at the historic Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on June 25, 2018. Image Credit: Iranian Labor News Agency via AP

Tehran: 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 to the resignation of a senior official, according to conservative Tasnim news agency.

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

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

Mehdizadeh is a PhD student in petroleum engineering, who 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 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 Jawad Zarif who said his children had returned to Iran after studying abroad.