Friday, December 28, 2012

Iran's Only Female Minister Fired By Ahmadinejad

Since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979, when the country took a giant step backwards, there has only been one female cabinet member in the land of the ayatollahs. It took thirty years to hire one and only 3 years before she was fired, in spite of the fact that the woman is apparently conservative.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired health minister (and gynecologist) Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi because she had the audacity to criticize his government over the lack of funds needed to import much needed medicines.

Reports have emerged in recent weeks of shortages of some critical medicines for treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, blood disorders and other serious conditions.

Last month, Dastjerdi said only a quarter of the $2.4 billion earmarked for medicine imports had been provided in the current year and there was a shortage of foreign currency for the shipments.

"Medicine is more essential than bread. I have heard that luxury cars have been imported with subsidized dollars but I don't know what happened to the dollars that were supposed to be allocated for importing medicine," she said on state television.

However, not everyone is thrilled with Mahmoud's decision:

"Although the president has the authority to sack the health minister, the move was not wise and doesn't have acceptable logic," the head of parliament's health committee, Hosseinali Shahriari, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

"The dismissal of the health minister was caused by nothing but ... personal issues. I hope the president has the courage to explain why he made this change," Fars quoted Shahriari as saying.

I think it's quite obvious- Mahmoud's ego was bruised by a female, no less.

He appointed a male to the position, so now the government is exclusively male.

In a short statement, he announced the interim appointment of Mohammad Hassan Tariqat Monfared as head of the ministry, replacing Dastjerdi.

"Noting your commitment and valuable experience and based on the ... constitution, I appoint you as the caretaker health minister," read the statement published widely across Iranian media.

That's probably just how the mullahs like it.

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