Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will oversee the country’s Oil Ministry after dismissing the oil minister, Masoud Mirkazemi, on 14 May.

“For now, I myself am the caretaker for the Oil Ministry,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview on state-owned Press TV on 15 May. Three ministers were removed to slim down the government, which will now be formed of 17 ministries, instead of 21, by 2015.

The dismissals have been criticised in Iran’s parliament, which was not informed of the details of the five mergers. New ministries have to be approved by parliament (MEED 15:5:11).

Two new ministers have been appointed. Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari will oversee the Industry and Mines Ministry, while Labour Minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami will take over the Welfare Ministry.

After taking charge of the Oil Ministry, Ahmadinejad could also take on the role of president of oil producers’ cartel Opec, since Iran currently holds the group’s presidency for 2011. The next ministerial conference is planned for 8 June in Vienna.