Ahmadinejad criticised for firing three Iran Cabinet ministers

Tehran, May 15 (ANI): Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been criticised by opposition for accepting resignation of three ministers, including that of oil, welfare, and mines and industries, as part of the government's plan to merge eight ministries into four, the semi-official Fars News Agency and letters posted to his own website have said.

Lawmakers and the hard-line Guardian Council, a body of senior clerics and jurists that serves as Iran's constitutional watchdog, had said that any such change would require the approval of parliament, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Any change in the duties and legal authorities [of the ministers and ministries] as well as the merger of two or several ministries must be approved by the parliament. And any change in the duties and authorities of the ministers and ministries shall not be made before the approval of the parliament," Guardian Council chief Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati wrote in a letter to the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani.

Ahmadinejad's move, however, led to widespread anger within hours of the announcement on Saturday.

"The simultaneous removal of three ministers gives out a signal to the society and the international community that the country is unstable. Removing ministers is not in contravention of the law, but is not in national interests in the current situation," the influential conservative lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli said.

Ahmadinejad's move follows another highly public spat with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the dismissal of Intelligence Minister, Hedar Moslehi. (ANI)