Iran’s industry minister sacked amid crumbling economy

Al-Monitor – In a surprise move, Iran’s president dismissed his minister of industry as the sector is increasingly plagued by US sanctions, untamed inflation and corruption.

President Hassan Rouhani sacked his minister of industry, mine and trade at one of the most chaotic moments for the country’s industry, particularly in the automotive sector. The Iranian auto industry has been on a downward path in the past two months with prices of domestic products soaring by up to 60%.

Yet no mention of that turbulence was made in the official explanations and exchanges on Reza Rahmani’s dismissal. In a public letter, he said he respected the president’s decision while attempting to disclose the covert power play inside the Iranian executive branch. Rahmani named Mahmoud Vaezi, chief of the presidential staff, as the man who forced his departure. As one of the president’s closest allies, Vaezi is believed to be the powerful figure micromanaging Rouhani’s moves.

The sacked minister’s letter hinted at what appeared to be severe infighting over a contentious bill the Rouhani government has been persistently advancing. If passed by the Iranian Parliament, the bill will lead to an official divorce for a new Ministry of Trade. The inner clash was further revealed in a statement from the presidential office in response to Rahmani’s letter. The statement noted that the minister’s dismissal was triggered by his failure to curb three lawmakers who have been attempting to kill the bill.

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