(Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will nominate Commerce Minister Massoud Mirkazemi as the new oil minister in the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter, an adviser was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
MUSTAFA ALANI, GULF RESEARCH Center
“The oil ministry is a key ministry and Iran faces major problems with its entire energy infrastructure. Iran may also face new sanctions on refined fuel imports and maybe even more sanctions down the road, perhaps on crude oil exports.”
“I don’t see how bringing somebody in who has not succeeded in their current ministry will help in terms of facing a potential crisis. I don’t see how parliament will accept this, nor Iran’s supreme leader. I expect President Ahmadinejad may have to reconsider this and possibly will have to revise the nomination.”
“The whole industry in Iran has been going downhill since the mid-1990s due to sanctions. It is collapsing. There is no new oil exploration and no new investment. They have a real need for reforms.”
After his previous election victory in 2005, Ahmadinejad failed to get his first three choices into the post because of parliamentary opposition.
“He could encounter opposition this time -- however, if there is some kind of consensus reached behind the scenes because of the instability at home, it could be easier this time.”
“If they look at the streets and see instability, they may decide to forgo his lack of experience (in the oil industry).”
“After his second electoral victory, Ahmadinejad will be looking to consolidate his position and power over key sectors including oil.”
“The mitigating factor is that this is the all-important and critical sector and parliament will make sure he doesn’t get to put in anybody he wants to at that level.”
“He will be nominating somebody for their ability to control the sector. It’s a challenging job, but then progress has been constrained by the international political situation so no matter how competent previous incumbents were, he doesn’t have shoes that are that big to fill. Iran has failed to get major projects off the ground, the minister simply can’t play outside the politics.”
“They face big challenges to end fuel subsidies by 2012 and to plug the deficit of refined fuels.”
MANOUCHEHR TAKIN, Center FOR GLOBAL ENERGY STUDIES
“It’s positive and negative. I wish it had been someone from the oil industry with experience, but at least we have someone who already knows the ways of Ahmadinejad.”