Iran's president has fired three key cabinet ministers - all of who were his staunch loyalists - amid an ongoing power struggle between the parliament and his government.
State radio reported on Saturday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the three: oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi, welfare and social security minister Sadeq Mahsouli, and industry minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian.
It's unclear if they will be replaced and who will take the posts. A new law passed by parliament requires Ahmadinejad trim down 21 ministries to 17.
Parliament has pushed for the restructuring of the government, which lawmakers claim is oversized, and now requires that any cabinet changes be approved by the legislature.
There was no immediate reaction from the parliament over the sacking.
The mechanics of the downsizing have been a source of tension for weeks between the president and parliament.
Ahmadinejad says that cabinet appointments are his prerogative but parliament insists it must approve the new portfolios and who holds them. A widely reported war of words erupted this week between Ahmadinejad and parliament speaker Ali Larijani on the issue.