Iran appoints new oil minister

04 August 2011

Revolutionary Guards commander will also be head of Opec

Iran’s parliament has approved the appointment of a Revolutionary Guards commander as the country’s new oil minister.

Rostam Qasemi, who was nominated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was approved by a large majority in the Majlis.

He abandoned his initial choice of caretaker oil minister Mohammad Alibadi as he was deemed to lack experience (MEED 18:7:11).

The decision to approve him appears to end the dispute between Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which was worsened when Ahmadinejad tried to take over the oil ministry.

Qasemi was put on the US sanctions list in January 2010 and five months later, added to the EU’s list. In his new role, Qasemi will also take over the rotating presidency of the oil producers group, Opec. The EU sanctions may prevent him from attending Opec headquarters in Vienna.

Ahmadinejad’s plan to merge the oil and gas ministries was vetoed by the Majlis.

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