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Iran: Budget Disputes Forces Health Minister Resignation

Iran: Budget Disputes Forces Health Minister Resignation

Friday, 4 January, 2019 - 11:00
Iranian Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has accepted the resignation of Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi after failing to resolve disputes concerning the sanctioned country’s lowered health ministry budget.

Hashemi’s resignation follows a wave of criticism that targeted Rouhani’s inability to balance the national budget.

Rouhani first refused to sign Hashemi’s resignation, who he described as one of the most successful ministers in the government, and had tried to persuade the minister to back down from the decision on leaving his post.

Hashemi, an ophthalmologist, had served as health minister in Rouhani’s first government before the Iranian president’s reelection. Iranian lawmaker Elias Hadharti confirmed reports on Hashemi’s resignation letter being filed some two weeks ago.

Rouhani presented the budget for the Iranian year, which starts on March 21, at $ 47 billion, showing a growth of 39 percent compared to the current year's budget. Iran-based IRNA reported that Hashemi had repeatedly complained of a shortage of funds in the past and about proposed cuts to his ministry in the government's next budget.

The United States reinstated sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear deal, in which Tehran received international sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Washington’s withdrawal from the agreement has helped fuel a currency crisis and increased food prices and inflation.

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