10252014Sat

Iran president sacks cabinet's sole woman

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked the sole woman in his cabinet, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, state television reported on Thursday.

The minister had proposed price hikes for a number of medicines in the face of the sharp depreciation of the Iranian rial as a result of Western sanctions imposed over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

But Ahmadinejad was opposed to the price rises and dismissed the minister.

Although the Western sanctions do not directly target medicines, they make all imports difficult because of restrictions on financial transactions.

Iran manufactures 97 percent of the medicines it uses but many of their ingredients are imported.

In October, an Iranian official acknowledged the price of domestically manufactured medicines had increased by 15-20 percent over the previous three months, and that of imported drugs by 20-80 percent.

Fatemeh Hashemi, head of the Foundation for Special Diseases, sent a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon in August asking him to make a case to the West to ease sanctions that are detrimental to patients.

Both the European Union and the United States have imposed tough unilateral sanctions against Iran that go well beyond those imposed by the UN Security Council.

Western governments suspect Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under cover of its civil programme but Tehran insists it is entirely peaceful.

Vahid Dastjerdi's dismissal was swiftly followed by the resignation of Tehran medical faculty chief Bagher Larijani, brother of two of Ahmadinejad's key political opponents. She had fought to keep him in post.

Ali Larijani is speaker of parliament, while Sadeq Larijani is head of the judiciary. Both have criticised the president's policies, including on the economy.

Vahid Dastjerdi was Iran's first woman minister since the Islamic revolution of 1979. A female vice president for the environment did serve during the 1997-2005 presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami.

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE