Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday appointed two acting ministers for industries and mines, and oil ministries.
In the official announcement, the president introduced Gholam- Hossein Nozari and Ali-Akbar Mehrabian as the oil and industries and mines acting ministers respectively. They will replace Vaziri-Mahaneh and Alireza Tahmasbi. The president thanked the former ministers and appointed Vaziri-Mahaneh as his adviser in oil and gas affairs.
The move is seen Ahmadinejad's bid to increase his control over industries that are the source of most of the country's revenues. Iran's leading newspapers said Monday the two ministers had been dismissed by Ahmadinejad.
State-run media gave no reason for the alleged dismissals and only carried statements from the president. However, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, a top advisor to Ahmadinejad, played down the changes, saying the cabinet remained cohesive and unified. "This does not mean that those who have resigned are exempted from responsibility and they will not cooperate with the government team but these persons are given new responsibilities," he was quoted as saying by the AFP.
On his part, Kamal Daneshyar, the head of the parliament's energy commission, said that the two ministers had been in disagreement with certain methods of the government. "It seems that certain methods do not suit the thinking and the action of the two ministers, and it is for this reason that they were replaced," he added.
The changes at the two ministries come at a time when Iran's economy is facing problems with mounting inflation, growing poverty and high unemployment.