Iranian finance minister to be replaced

Iranian Economy Minister Davoud Danesh-JafariTehran - Following continued inflation in Iran,  and Finance Minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari is to be replaced and probably dispatched as ambassador to Germany or Canada, Fars news agency reported Monday.

Fars quoted an informed official source as saying that Vice President Parviz Davoudi would be the most likely candidate to succeed Danesh-Jafari.

However, on Saturday government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham called the speculations an April's Fool joke and categorically denied them.

Danesh-Jafari has so far refrained from commenting on the issue but said on state television that whenever he left the office, "it might be the last day."

So far the ministers of cooperatives, mines and metals, oil and social affairs and education, the vice-president and head of the planning and budget organization, the Central Bank governor and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani have all left President Ahmadinejad's cabinet, most of them reportedly due to differences with the president.

There is also speculation over the possible resignation of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki but spokesman for the foreign ministry Mohammad-Ali Hosseini denied this.

Inflation in Iran, ranging between 20 to 30 per cent, has led to widespread criticism of Ahmadinejad, even within the president's own political camp.

Observers say the majority of the conservative winners in last month's parliamentary elections are critical of the president and especially oppose his economic policies.

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