Reuters: A senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signalled in comments published on Monday that he would nominate Acting Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari to take the post permanently in OPEC’s second largest producer. TEHRAN, Oct 1 (Reuters) – A senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signalled in comments published on Monday that he would nominate Acting Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari to take the post permanently in OPEC’s second largest producer.
Nozari, who heads the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company, was named in an interim capacity after Ahmadinejad sacked Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh on Aug. 12. Some analysts saw the move as a bid by the president to stamp his control on an industry that is the source of most of Iran’s revenues.
“The president has a positive view on this candidate,” presidential aide Ali Saeedlou told the Poul daily when asked about Nozari.
Saeedlou said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in 2005 on a pledge to share out Iran’s oil wealth more fairly, would present his candidate to parliament after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends around Oct. 13.
Iran has reaped windfall gains in recent years from the high oil price, earning more than $50 billion in the year to March.
Parliament rejected three of Ahmadinejad’s candidates for the post of oil minister after he came to office two years ago, complaining that they lacked experience in the industry, before accepting the technocrat Vaziri-Hamaneh.
Nozari has maintained a relatively high profile since he became acting oil minister, saying last week that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) does not need to raise oil output further, despite a rise in prices.
Analysts say Iran’s oil industry needs a big injection of foreign investment with accompanying expertise to meet targets to boost output beyond roughly 4 million barrels per day now.
The Oil Ministry also faces the challenge of implementing a gasoline rationing scheme that prompted protests in June.