Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will run Iran's Oil Ministry following his move to relieve three Iranian ministers of their duties as part of a plan to merge ministries, Press TV reported.
"The Iranian government and Parliament (Majlis) have consensus on the Oil Ministry merger...I am the caretaker for the Oil Ministry," said President Ahmadinejad in a televised speech.
The Iranian chief executive added that the decision to merge ministries was made based on a "legal duty" and "structural obligation" and emphasized that the government's swift implementation of the law has "executive and scientific" reasons.
On May 9, the Iranian government 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.
President Ahmadinejad issued three separate decrees on Saturday, dismissing Welfare Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, Minister of Mines and Industries Ali Akbar Mehrabian and Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi from their posts according to the 53rd article of the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan.
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.
However, President Ahmadinejad's move to merge ministries provoked criticism from Iranian parliamentarians as Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on Tuesday warned against the "heavy costs" of the government's plan before the Majlis approval, calling for an end to the "illegal" move.
The top Iranian parliamentarian emphasized that ministers who have obtained the Majlis vote of confidence should remain in their posts before dismissal.
In a letter to Larijani on Wednesday, Head of Iran's Guardian Council Ahmad Jannati endorsed the Parliament's view according to the Article 133 of the Iranian Constitution.
In his televised interview, the Iranian president once again defended his decision, saying that it does not run counter to the country's interests.
"Based on the country's interests and the science of management, the government should be reduced," he pointed out.
The Iranian chief executive emphasized that all state bodies are fulfilling their responsibilities and duties, adding, "There is no problem in this regard."
President Ahmadinejad stressed that "There is no impasse in the country" and said expression of different views in a free country like Iran is an "evident issue."
On Monday, the Iranian president introduced Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdolreza Sheikholeslam as caretaker Ministers of Mines and Industries, and Welfare and Social Security.