EU Economic Adviser: Iran's oil industry may suffer irreparable damage

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 28 / Trend, T.Jafarov /

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has nominated "Sepah" General Rostam Ghasemi, who is known in international sanctions as the minister of oil. The move indicates the Islamic Republic's contempt for the international community, European Union adviser for economic affairs Mehrdad Emadi told Trend over the phone.

He said if Ghasemi is appointed as the Iranian Oil Minister, he will have to represent Iran in various states.

"Ghasemi's visits to other countries are risky, as state imposing sanctions will require his arrest. 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", Emadi said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted a new list of candidates for the post of four ministers in a letter to Parliament on Wednesday. According to Ahmadinejad's letter, nominees to head the newly merged ministries include Roustam Ghasemi as Oil Minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami as Minister for Cooperatives, Labor and Social Security, Mehdi Ghazanfari as the Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, and Mohammad Abbasi as the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs.

The parliament will consider the candidacies next week. All these ministerial posts are currently vacant.

One of the commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ("Sepah") Rostam Ghasemi is Chief Khatam-ol Anbiya. According to Iranian websites, Ghasemi served in the oil sector for nearly twenty years and implemented the sixth phase of the "South Pars" gas project. Ghasemi's name appears in the UN Security Council resolution 1929, the EU, and in U.S. sanctions.

According to Emadi, Ghasemi's nomination as Iran's oil minister will further weaken Iran's position in OPEC.

"Iran is currently chairing OPEC. Even if Ghasemi will attend OPEC meetings as oil minister, will he be trusted? It is doubtful that Ghasemi would protect the position already lost to Iran with OPEC", Emadi added.

Iran has chaired OPEC since January 2011. During this period several oil ministers were replaced. Despite the fact that Iran's former Oil Minister Masud Mir Kazemi was elected as OPEC Chairman, he was later sent into retirement. Iran's representative to OPEC was acting Minister of Oil Mohammed Aliabadi. If Ghasemi is elected as oil minister, OPEC chairmanship will be transferred to him.

Iran is chairing OPEC for the first time in 36 years.

According to Emadi, Ghasemi's appointment as minister is Ahmadinejad's step aimed at strengthening ties with the "Sepah". However, appointing Ghasemi as Iran's oil minister will cause irreparable damage to the country's oil and gas industry, Emadi added.

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