Iran’s Foreign Minister Is Abruptly Fired While Abroad
13-Dec-2010 (one comment)

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the country’s long-time foreign minister on Monday, a sudden move that caught many here by surprise and appeared to reflect a strengthening of the president’s power.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a presidential order that he had dismissed the minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, who was currently traveling on an official trip in Senegal. The overseas location of Mr. Mottaki at the time of his dismissal made the announcement even more intriguing.

It has been well known that the Iranian leader had long sought to replace Mr. Mottaki but had been prevented from doing so until now by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in appointing the heads of several key ministries.

The move was a victory for the president and an apparent extension of his powers, though it remained unclear what changes at the upper echelon of Iranian politics allowed for the firing.

President Ahmadinejad appointed Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, as the country’s acting foreign minister until a permanent replacement is found.

In a separate letter issued on Monday, Mr. Ahmadinejad expressed gratitude to Mr. Mottaki for his services during his five-year tenure. "Hereby, I thank you for your services as efforts during your tenure in the Foreign Ministry," read the letter.

Mr. Mottaki, who was the face of Iran to much of the West, had served as foreign minis... >>>

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