Ahmadinejad Positive on Acting Oil Minister

A00905681.jpgA senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signaled in comments published on Monday that he would nominate Acting Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari to take the post permanently in OPEC’s second largest producer. Nozari, who heads the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company, was named in an interim capacity after Ahmadinejad sacked Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh on Aug. 12.

“The president has a positive view on this candidate,” presidential aide Ali Saeedlou told the Poul daily when asked about Nozari.

Saeedlou said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in 2005 on a pledge to share out Iran’s oil wealth more fairly, would present his candidate to parliament after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends around Oct. 13.

Iran has reaped windfall gains in recent years from the high oil price, earning more than $50 billion in the year to March.

Parliament rejected three of Ahmadinejad’s candidates for the post of oil minister after he came to office two years ago, complaining that they lacked experience in the industry, before accepting the technocrat Vaziri Hamaneh.

Nozari has maintained a relatively high profile since he became acting oil minister, saying last week that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) does not need to raise oil output further, despite a rise in prices.

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