Iran president proposes Guards commander as oil minister

Jul 27, 2011

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed to parliament on Wednesday a Revolutionary Guards commander as his choice for oil minister, state radio reported.

“I introduce Rostam Qasemi as the oil minister nominee to the parliament,” Ahmadinejad said in a letter to lawmakers.

Qasemi is head of the Khatam Al-Anbia construction base, an engineering and construction company controlled by the elite Guards. Parliament will debate a vote of confidence for Qasemi on August 3.

The Guards has played a growing economic role in the Islamic Republic since Ahmadinejad first took office in 2005.

The UN Security Council in June blacklisted 15 firms belonging to the Guards Corps. for their alleged role in Iran’s nuclear activities, which the United States and its allies say is a cover to build bombs.

Iran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Ahmadinejad took control of the ministry in May as he sought to merge it with the Energy Ministry in an effort to slim down the government. The merger plan has since been put on hold.

By law the president has three months after removing a minister — in this case Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi — to introduce a new candidate to parliament. During that period he can act as caretaker himself or appoint someone to the post.

Ahmadinejad came under fire by critics in parliament after he relinquished the role of caretaker oil minister himself — a role both parliament and Iran’s constitutional watchdog said was illegal — and appointed Mohammad Aliabadi, one of his close allies, to the post in June.

Lawmakers said Aliabadi, former head of Iran’s Olympic Committee, lacked experience and knowledge.

Source: Arab News.

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