Iran's New Oil Minister
"Iran's parliament has voted to approve Rostam Qasemi, a Revolutionary Guards commander, to head the country's oil ministry.
"The country's president had called on the Majlis to confirm Qasemi and end months of wrangling over control of oil and gas production in the world's fifth biggest crude exporter...
"Qasemi heads a major engineering company - owned by the elite military body - and is under US and EU sanctions due to Western concerns Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons technology, a charge the Islamic republic has always denied...
"The newly appointed minister comes from Khatam al-Anbia, the Guards company initially set up to conduct vital infrastructure work during the eight-year war with Iraq which followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"It has since executed oil projects worth a total of $25bn, state-owned IRNA reported recently, quoting Ahmad Qalebani, managing director of the state National Iranian Oil Co.
"Qasemi's position has drawn the attention of Western countries that believe the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliates are involved in Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons, a goal that Tehran denies."
This affair, however, shows that in contrast to previous analysis, Ahmadinejad may not be part of a solid front with the military, as he tried to prevent Qasemi's rise to that post.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)