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Iran's health minister sacked

TEHRAN, Dec. 28 — Iran's Minister of Health and Medical Education Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi was sacked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Semi-official Fars news agency reported on Thursday.

In another decree, Ahmadinejad appointed Mohammad-Hassan Tariqat-Monfared as the acting minister of health, said the report.

As the first female government minister in Iran since the Islamic republic was founded in 1979, Vahid-Dastjerdi took the position of Iran's Minister of Health and Medical Education on Sept. 3, 2009.

The conflicts with Vahid-Dastjerdi started as some governmental officials, more probably including the Iranian president, urged the health minister to fire the chief of Tehran Medical Science University, Dr. Baqer Larijani, but she refused to do so, said semi-official Mehr news agency on Thursday.

Further, Vahid-Dastjerdi recently criticized the government for not allocating enough foreign currency for the imports of medicine, a claim which was rejected by Ahmadinejad.

Later, Vahid-Dastjerdi emphasized that only on-third of the foreign currency had been allocated for the imports of the needed medicine, according to Mehr.

Earlier, local media quoted Heath Ministry as saying that some of the budget for the imports of medicine had been used to import luxurious things, including cosmetics and horse saddles.

The Iranian government is obliged to allocate currency for basic vital items at lower foreign currency rate of one U.S. dollar for 12,260 rials, which is almost less than 40 percent of the black market rates. However, some of the foreign currency at lower rates, to be used for the imports of medicine, has gone to the imports of luxurious items, according to the reports. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/RSM

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