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Iran's President Ahmadinejad fires only woman in his Cabinet

Health Minister Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the only woman in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Cabinet, has been fired.

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Iran's first woman minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi attends a press conference by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after parliament voted for his proposed cabinet in Tehran on September 3, 2009. (ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi made history in 2009 when she became the first female Cabinet member in the Islamic Republic's 33-year history, Bloomberg News reported. But now, Dastjerdi is out of a job.

In a letter published by the state-run Mehr news agency, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that he had fired Dastjerdi, who was the country's health minister.

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Ahmadinejad didn't provide a reason for her firing. But Dastjerdi had spoken out against the government in recent days, and called for a rise in prescription drug prices to fight shortages in Iran. She had said that an increase in the price of medicine is “inevitable unless sufficient foreign currency is made available to the ministry,” the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The drug shortages are caused by international sanctions against Iran, which have done steep damage to Iran's economy, BBC News reported. Dastjerdi complained, however, that officials at home were making the problem worse. 

"In the first half of the current year, the Central Bank has not allocated any exchange for the import of drugs and medical equipment," she said, according to the BBC.

Ahmadinejad had rejected her comments, claiming that the health ministry's budget needs had been met. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/121227/iran-president-ahmadinejad-fires-only-woman-his-cabine