Iranian Parliament has narrowly approved the appointment of the new Minister of Health, Mohammad Hassan Tarighat Monfared, by a margin of one vote.
The Mehr News Agency reports that Tarighat Monfared received 113 votes with 99 voting against and 12 abstaining. In order to pass, the motion required half of all votes plus one.
The former minister of health, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, was removed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad three months ago after the minister became too critical of the administration’s failure to address health ministry needs.
In Parliament, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his candidate as an experienced physician and leader. Tarighat Monfared is an ophthalmologist and former head of Imam Hossein Hospital. He has also served as the head of the Social Security Organization.
The Ministry of Health is currently facing a barrage of criticism for failed leadership in coping with medical drug shortages caused by by international sanctions on Iran’s financial institutions.
The most recent concern is the shortage of anesthetics, which has led to the closure of hospital operating rooms.
Tarighat Monfared proposed in Parliament that better distribution methods could address some of the shortages.