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Iranian Cabinet officials fired in apparent rebuke to premier

Iran's parliament fired the defense minister and four other senior Cabinet officers Wednesday - nearly a quarter of the government - in an implicit rebuke to Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi's administration. The five ministers lost votes of confidence in the 270-seat Majlis just two days after Mr. Mousavi himself comfortably survived a similar challenge. The ministers of health, education, industry, and higher education also lost their jobs.

The rejection of the defense minister, Col. Mohammad Salam, was seen as a sign of parliamentary displeasure over the conduct of Iran's war against Iraq and Iran's failure to score decisive victories despite several major offensives this year.

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