MP reacts strongly to sacking of ministers

July 28, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Deputy Majlis speaker has criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for sacking cabinet ministers over their support for the dismissal of first vice president Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii.

“In the light of the fact that the ministers expressed support for obedience to the Leader’s decree to sack Mashaii… dismissing the ministers was not appropriate at this juncture,” Mohammad Hasan Abutorabi told reporters at the parliament.
In a letter to the president dated July 18, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei stated that appointing Rahim-Mashaii as first vice president is not in the interests of the government and causes “rift and disappointment” among the supporters of the president himself.
The sacking followed the ministers’ verbal dispute on Wednesday with the president over the appointment of Rahim-Mashaii as his first vice president.
According to Article 136 of the Iranian Constitution, if more than half of the members of the cabinet are replaced, the president must seek a new vote of confidence for his entire cabinet. With the dismissal of the two ministers, half of the original cabinet ministers of the Ahmadinejad administration have left their posts and therefore it will be illegal to hold cabinet meetings.
However, Abutorabi said, according to the latest reports, only Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei has been dismissed and the total number of ministerial posts that have been replaced has not reached 11 and the current administration is still legal.
Political expert Mahdi Fazaeli said on Monday that the sudden dismissal of ministers was not in the interest of the government.
“The president should explain the reason for taking this sudden action and the society expects a convincing justification,” he told the Mehr News Agency.
He also said political figures and media outlets should make an effort to cool down the atmosphere.
MP Mahdi Sanaii has said Ahmadinejad’s hesitation to dismiss Rahim-Mashaii and his decisions in sacking ministers are not justifiable.
“(Ahmadimejad’s) actions in the last two weeks and especially his one-week hesitation to heed the Supreme Leader’s advice… are unjustifiable and do not bode well,” he told the MNA.
“Everyone was hopeful of interaction with the administration” and a majority of lawmakers expected to see progress through cooperation but MPs who fully supported Ahmadinejad’s presidency now have serious doubts, he added.