Ahmadinejad Sacks Cabinet's Sole Woman
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked Health Minister Marizeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole woman in his cabinet, state television reported on Thursday.
The minister had proposed price hikes for a number of medications due to the plunge of the Iranian rial against the US dollar and Western sanctions imposed on the country over its disputed nuclear program, AFP reported.
Ahmadinejad was opposed to the price rises, however, and dismissed the minister.
Although the sanctions do not directly target medications, they limit their ability to be imported to the country due to increased restrictions on financial transactions.
While Iran reportedly produces 97 percent of the drugs on its market, their ingredients are imported.
In October, an Iranian official acknowledged that the price of locally produced medications had increased by 15-20 percent in the past three months, and 20-80 percent for imported products.
Fatemeh Hashemi, head of the Foundation for Special Diseases, sent a letter to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon in August asking him to make a case to the West for easing sanctions that prove to be detrimental to patients, according to AFP.
Tehran has been hit by numerous rounds of sanctions designed by the United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council, in an effort to pressure the regime to curb its nuclear program.