Ex-Iran FM says sacking `un-Islamic`

Manouchehr Mottaki was dismissed when he was on an official visit to Senegal.

Tehran: Iran`s former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki has hit out at his dismissal this week by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "un-Islamic and offensive”.

"Sacking a minister while (he is) on a mission is un-Islamic, un-diplomatic, offensive and outside the practices of politics," Mottaki was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency on Sunday.

Ahmadinejad announced his decision to oust Mottaki on Monday while the 57-year-old career diplomat was on an official visit to Senegal.

"I was never told about the appointment of a new person within 24 hours of my departure for the mission," Mottaki said, referring to a meeting with Ahmadinejad on the eve of his departure, Mehr reported.

Iran`s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi officially took charge on Saturday as the Islamic republic`s interim foreign minister at a function which was also a farewell ceremony for Mottaki who shunned the reception.

"What is more ridiculous is that (I was not told about) the date for the farewell ceremony and the introduction" of Salehi, Mottaki said.

Mottaki`s dismissal came after he hailed as a "step forward" remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Tehran is entitled to a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

Hillary had told the BBC Iran could enrich uranium for civilian purposes in the future, but only once it has demonstrated it can do so in a responsible manner and in accordance with Tehran`s international obligations.

Mottaki appeared to cut across Iran`s official position by repeating almost daily that the country`s enrichment of uranium is non-negotiable.

His sacking also came just days after Iran held crunch talks in Geneva on December 06 and 07 with world powers over its controversial nuclear dossier. Further talks are scheduled for next month in Iran`s neighbour Turkey.

Bureau Report