Iran's president dismisses health minister

December 27, 2012 - 6:32 PM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV is reporting the country's president has dismissed the health minister after her ministry put out a statement criticizing authorities for not providing money to import medicine.

The Thursday report says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has replaced Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole female member of the Cabinet, by a temporary caretaker.

Last week her ministry in a statement said the Central Bank had not allocated a budget to import medicine, but provided hard currency for importing pet food, horse saddles and dog collars.

The country faces a hard currency shortage linked to the West's oil and banking sanctions on Iran. This has in turn fueled the political struggle between Ahmadinejad and his critics, in particular hardliners aligned with the clerical establishment.

Parliamentarians have also accused Ahmadinejad of underfunding medicine.