Iran

Iran President Fires Health Minister

Only woman in cabinet, she criticized colleagues for not funding medicine imports

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday dismissed his only female cabinet minister, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, after she criticised her colleagues for failing to provide funds to import vital medicines.

Appointed in 2009, Dastjerdi was the first woman government minister since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. While seen as politically conservative, the gynaecologist has advocated a greater role for women in society.

Reports have emerged in recent weeks of shortages of some critical medicines for treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, blood disorders and other serious conditions.