Iran's parliament approves appointment of Revolutionary Guard as oil minister

Iran’s parliament has approved the appointment of Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Rostam Qasemi as minister of oil, marking a major victory for hardliners in asserting control over the country’s most important revenue sector.

Qasemi, approved by a vote of 216 to 22 with 7 abstentions, told lawmakers before the vote that he has “never been interested in politics since I started working.” He said he does not consider the oil ministry a place for political affairs.

"Hundreds of construction projects have been carried out by Khatam headquarters,” said Qasemi, who heads Khatam al-Anbiya, already the most powerful economic wing of the Revolutionary Guards.

 “We improved the quality of projects to an international standard," Qasemi told lawmakers. “We were able to replace Shell and Total after they sanctioned us."

Qasemi replaces Masoud Mirkazemi, who was fired in mid-May when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to combine the oil ministry with the energy ministry, an idea that was eventually rejected by parliament.

 Qasemi also won out over Mohammad Aliabadi, who was appointed caretaker oil minister by Ahmadinejad just in time to attend the acrimonious June 8 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

 

OPEC internal relations

 The appointment of Qasemi, who is subject to international sanctions regimes, is thought likely to further complicate internal relations within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, over which the Islamic Republic presides under a rotating system until yearend.

Washington has accused Khatam al-Anbiya of channeling revenues from its construction business into Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, and it has ordered a freeze of Qasemi’s assets outside Iran.

The European Union also bans dealings with the Revolutionary Guards, its affiliates and officials, including Qasemi, who are also subject to travel restrictions.

OPEC ministers are scheduled to meet in Vienna on Dec. 14, when Qasemi will be due to preside over the group’s last meeting of the year before the rotating position is passed on to Iraq.

"Qasemi’s visits to other countries are risky, as states imposing sanctions will require his arrest,” said Mehrdad Emadi, an advisor to the European Union for economic affairs.

“In such circumstances, his nomination for the post of oil minister is a kind of indication of Iran’s contempt for the UN Security Council, Europe and the United States," said Emadi, just days ahead of the vote on Qasemi.

Qasemi’s appointment is considered a strategic gain for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who now are effectively in control of the country’s main source of revenue.

For that reason, Qasemi’s appointment was opposed by conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari who said that, “The integration of the Guard, as a military force, in political and economic power is not in the interests of the system.”

“In neighboring countries, military officials are distancing themselves from politics and power, while it’s the opposite in Iran,” said Motahari, whose statements provoked anger from hard-liners.

 Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani supported Qasemi, saying Iranians should be proud to give key portfolios to the military force.

Larijani called for a “symbolic vote” in response to the sanctions that bar the new minister from travelling abroad and consequently attending meetings of OPEC at its headquarters in Vienna.  

That echoes the views of other parliamentarians, such as Mohammad Dehghan, who think Iran could try to have the sanctions on Qasemi lifted "gradually." Even if it does not happen, Dehghan said, Qasemi "can send his deputies" (OGJ, Aug. 1, 2011).

Meanwhile, Qasemi, who described Khatam al-Anbiya as a “pioneer” in the fields of oil and gas exploitation, exploration and refinery construction, said he would bring his revolutionary fervor to bear in his new task as minister.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com

 

Related Articles

Study: To cool climate, eat less less meat, milk

12/15/2014

Meeting stated goals for Earth's climate requires not only using pricey energy but also spurning animal protein.

Eagle Ford economic boost jumps to $87 billion

12/12/2014 The Texas Eagle Ford shale supported more than 155,000 full-time equivalent jobs and provided more than $2.2 billion in revenue for local governmen...

EnCana, Talisman optimist on Montney, Duvernay

12/12/2014 EnCana Corp. has achieved significant cost savings in the Montney and Duvernay plays, executives told analysts while discussing EnCana's third-quar...

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

ETP eyes larger capacity for planned Bakken pipe

12/12/2014 Energy Transfer Partners LP has launched a binding expansion open season to boost capacity on a planned pipeline system that would move oil from th...

Common interests lead to Gtuit, Corval partnership

12/12/2014

Gtuit was started 3 years ago by three engineers in Billings, Mont, who developed a mobile, remote NGL capture and gas conditioning system.

OGJ Newsletter

12/08/2014

International news for oil and gas professionals

EPA air proposals should recognize progress, API official says

12/08/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency should recognize progress that is continuing before it considers imposing costly new air quality requirement...

Keyera to own interest in new deep-cut gas plant

12/02/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will take a 35% stake with Bellatrix Exploration Ltd., Calgary, in a deep-cut natural gas processing plant and related pipel...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected