Iran Majlis to prevent further mergers by government

An Iranian lawmaker says Iran’s Majlis will prevent merging of government’s ministries as the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet provided the parliament with duties of new ministries.

Mobed Sadr-Hosseini said on Monday that given the unsuccessful merger of ministries in the past in accordance with Iran’s Fifth Five-Year Development Plan, Majlis would prevent any further attempt by the government in this regard.

Earlier this week, Ahmadinejad dismissed Reza Taqipour, the former minister of Information and Communication Technology, and appointed Roads and Urban Development Minister Ali Nikzad as the caretaker of communications ministry.

Nikzad later said that the government plans to merge the two ministries and establish the new Ministry of Infrastructure.

Sadr-Hosseini said appointing Nikzad as the caretaker of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is illegal as occupying two posts by one person is against the law. Describing the merger of ministries as a “failed project,” the Iranian minister advised the government to refrain from repeating an unsuccessful action.

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.

In 2011, Ahmadinejad dismissed three announced plans 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.

Iran’s seventh Majlis, however, opposed the move and maintained that the country’s legislative body should approve any changes in the legal duties and the merger of two or more ministries. Iran’s then Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani warned against the “heavy costs” of the government’s plan to merge ministries before the parliament’s approval, calling for an end to the “illegal” move.