Ahmadinejad dismisses four of his cabinet ministers

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed four of his cabinet ministers Sunday, the Mehr news agency reported. The unusual move seemed to be related to the dispute over Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, a controversial figure who Ahmadinejad was ordered to dismiss as his top deputy by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. After initially defying the order, Ahmadinejad relented on Friday. Mashai angered conservatives last year when he made friendly comments about Israel. Several Cabinet officials, including Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, walked out of a meeting Wednesday to protest Ahmadinejad's appointment of Mashai as his first vice president, Mehr reported. In addition to Harandi, Ahmadinejad dismissed Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, Health minister Kamran Bagheri Lankarani and Labor minister Mohammad Jahromi, the agency reported.