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GC: President Cannot Run Oil Ministry

Service : Economy
TEHRAN, May 20 (ICANA) – Iran's Guardian Council has reportedly described President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's decision to temporarily run the country's oil ministry as “illegal.”
Friday, May 20, 2011 4:14:39 PM
GC: President Cannot Run Oil Ministry

The constitutional supervisory body says the president's decision to take charge of the ministry is against the provisions of Article 135 of Iran's Constitution.

The council, which is charged with interpreting the Constitution, argues that according to the article, the Iranian chief executive is only allowed to appoint a caretaker minister for three months.

In a televised speech on May 15, President Ahmadinejad said he will run Iran's Oil Ministry temporarily following his decision to relieve three Iranian ministers of their duties as part of a plan to merge ministries.

The Iranian government announced plans on May 9 to merge the ministries of Roads and Transportation with Housing and Urban Development, Energy with Oil, Industries and Mines with Commerce, and Welfare and Social Security with Labor and Social Affairs.

President Ahmadinejad issued three separate decrees on May 14, dismissing Welfare Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, Minister of Mines and Industries Ali Akbar Mehrabian and Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi from their posts according to the 53rd article of the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan.

According to Iran's Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015), the Iranian government is obliged to reduce its ministries form 21 to 17 to officially improve the efficiency of state administration.

However, President Ahmadinejad's move to merge ministries has provoked criticism from some members of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis).

The lawmakers contend that the government's decision is “illegal,” emphasizing that ministers that have obtained a Majlis vote of confidence should remain in their posts until their official dismissal.

The Guardian Council had earlier stepped in to resolve the difference of opinions.

In a letter to the Majlis on May 11, the council reaffirmed that any change in the duties and responsibilities of cabinet ministers would require the ratification of the parliament and the ministers appointed to head the new ministries would require the parliament's vote of confidence.

The developments come as the Iranian government is due to hold the one-year presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Austrian capital of Vienna on June 8.

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