TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will remove his ministers of the economy and interior, newspapers reported Thursday.
The government spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham, said Wednesday that the president had decided this week to replace the two ministers, according to the reports.
Elham had dismissed rumors of a cabinet shuffle last week and called them an April Fool's joke. Newspapers wrote last week that the foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, would also be replaced.
No reason was given for the dismissals and it was not clear immediately who would replace the two ministers.
But it was widely believed that the removal of the economy minister, Davoud Danesh Jaffari, was part of an effort by Ahmadinejad to fight inflation.
The interior minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, is a mid-ranking cleric close to the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad's opponents blame his economic policies for the inflation, which has reached 18 percent according to the central bank.
The new cabinet appointments require the approval of Parliament, and Ahmadinejad could face resistance from lawmakers. He came under attack by his opponents Thursday for the dismissals.
The newspaper Etemad Melli called the decision a "management catastrophe," in an editorial Thursday and wrote that the ministers could not make long-term plans because they feared they could be fired at any time.
A commentary in the daily Kargozaran said that the president should explain the reason for replacing his ministers. "People should know that Danesh Jaffari is being fired because of the skyrocketing inflation or because of his opposition to the president's economic policies," wrote Hossein Marashi, a reformist politician.