Lotfollah Forouzandeh

A proposed Ministry of Youth and Sports, which has been a point of contention between the president and the Supreme Leader, will now be established, according to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s deputy for Development and Human Power.

Lotfollah Forouzandeh told ISNA today earlier “doubts” around this new ministry have been resolved through consultation with parliament. He added that the government is intent on opening this ministry.

Forouzandeh added: “The issue of the letter from the president to the Supreme Leader is now finished;” referring to the letter sent by Ahmadinejad to Ayatollah Khamenei last week, asking for his support in scrapping parliament’s plan to establish the sports ministry.

The letter had triggered adverse reaction from several MPs, who maintained that once the bill is passed in parliament and approved by the Guardian Council, the government is obliged to carry it out.

“The president’s insistence on involving the Supreme Leader in the current affairs of the country in this manner is illegal and inappropriate,” said MP Hassan Ghafourifard.

The Ahmadinejad administration had opposed the idea of a sports ministry ever since parliament passed the law calling for its establishment. It had maintained that such a ministry would not benefit the country in sports and athletics.

The plan to merge the Physical Education Organization and the National Youth Organization into Ministry of Youth and Sports was passed by the parliament last December.