Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Iran revolutionary guards' commander set to become president of Opec

A senior commander of Iran's revolutionary guards, who is subject to comprehensive international sanctions, has been nominated as the country's oil minister, a position that currently includes the presidency of Opec.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, sent a list of four ministers, including Rostam Ghasemi, commander of the revolutionary guards' Khatam al-Anbia military and industrial base, to the parliament for approval, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Should the parliament confirm Ghasemi's nomination next week, the commander, who is targeted by US, EU and Australian sanctions, will be automatically appointed as head of Opec, giving the revolutionary guards access to an influential international platform.

Under Iran's constitution the president is in charge of appointing cabinet ministers, who take office after the approval of parliament.

Iran took the Opec presidency in October last year, its first time at the head of the oil exporters' cartel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Unrest in the Middle East, especially the ongoing war in Libya, has given Opec a crucial role in determining the current oil price. Iran is the second-largest crude oil exporter in Opec.

The nomination follows an extraordinary power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad attempted to take over the oil ministry as its temporary head in May but his move was blocked by parliament. He then appointed Mohammad Aliabadi, a close ally, as a caretaker. (more)