Iran General NewsIran confirms Khatibi as new OPEC governor

Iran confirms Khatibi as new OPEC governor

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ImageReuters: Iran has officially announced the replacement of its long-time governor to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Oil Ministry's website Shana said on Sunday.

ImageTEHRAN, May 18 (Reuters) – Iran has officially announced the replacement of its long-time governor to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Oil Ministry's website Shana said on Sunday.

Oil Ministry sources last week told Reuters that senior Iranian energy official Mohammad Ali Khatibi would take over from Hossein Kazempour Ardebili as the representative of OPEC's second largest producer to the 13-member oil exporting cartel.

Shana said Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari appointed Khatibi, previously deputy director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, to the post in a decree but did not say when it was issued.

"In view of your commitment and experience in issues related to OPEC and global oil markets, you are appointed as the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the governing board of OPEC," Nozari wrote to Khatibi, according to Shana.

In a separate letter, he thanked Kazempour for his work. The Shana report did not say why Kazempour was replaced.

One industry insider last week said a change had long been expected, as Kazempour was a supporter of the candidate beaten by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in elections in 2005.

Ministry sources have declined to say whether the change might mean a new direction for Iran's oil output policy.

Kazempour served as Iran's deputy foreign minister and deputy oil minister in the 1980s and was Iranian ambassador to Japan in the early 1990s, while at the same time serving as OPEC governor.

Khatibi has previously also worked at the Oil Ministry's department of OPEC and Energy Affairs and as a researcher at the Tehran-based Institute of International Energy Studies.

Iran is embroiled in a long-running international dispute over its nuclear programme, which the West fears is a front to build weapons, a charge Tehran denies. The dispute has played a part in oil's rise to a record near $128 on Friday.

Nozari said in remarks published on Sunday that he did not see the need for an emergency meeting of OPEC and expected crude prices to rise with any weakening in the U.S. dollar.

Iran and other OPEC states have often said in recent weeks that there is no lack of supply and have blamed the crude price surge on factors such as the weak U.S. dollar and speculation.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Jason Neely)

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