The Guardian Council

Iran’s Guardian Council, the powerful watchdog of the constitution, has called the establishment of the Ministry of Infrastructure unconstitutional.

Fars news agency reports that the Guardian Council says the government cannot appoint a minister to a ministry that does not have clearly defined and approved responsibilities. According to the Iranian constitution, the number of ministers and the limits of their responsibilities must be stipulated in legislation approved by Parliament.

Guardian Council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodayi recently announced that the council determined at it latest meeting that the merger of three ministries, now being carried out by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, is in violation of Article 133 of the constitution.

Last week, Parliament voted down the government’s proposal to merge the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development into a Ministry of Infrastructure.

The Ahmadinejad administration’s attempt to merge ministries has drawn criticism and sparked disputes with Parliament and the conservative elite, highlighting the limits of presidential power in the Islamic Republic.