NewsSpecial WireIran’s rejected oil chief nominee to head central bank

Iran’s rejected oil chief nominee to head central bank

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Aug. 29 – Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to appoint his close confidante Ali Saeedlou as director of the country’s central bank, according to sources close to the presidential office.
Ahmadinejad nominated Saeedlou, 41, as his oil minister, but he failed to win enough ballots during the confirmation vote in Iran’s Majlis (Parliament).
Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 29 – Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to appoint his close confidante Ali Saeedlou as director of the country’s central bank, according to sources close to the presidential office.

Ahmadinejad nominated Saeedlou, 41, as his oil minister, but he failed to win enough ballots during the confirmation vote in Iran’s Majlis (Parliament).

Like Ahmadinejad, Saeedlou is a member of the ultra-conservative Abadgaran faction and was deputy mayor of Tehran for finance and administration. He replaced Ahmadinejad as interim mayor of Tehran after the presidential elections in June.

Like most other political appointees of the hard-line President, Saeedlou has a past deeply intertwined with Iran’s military and security agencies. A former deputy director of the Defence Industries Organisation affiliated to the Ministry of Defence, Saeedlou was the chief representative of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (secret police) in the Ministry of Commerce, and a former staff member of the Supreme National Security Council.

His rejection as Minister of Oil by Majlis deputies highlighted serious concern among even hard-line supporters of Ahmadinejad in Majlis who feared that Saeedlou had no experience in the oil sector and his appointment as minister would cripple further the country’s already-lagging economy. Oil exports account for 80 percent of Iran’s national revenue.

More worrying to some was Saeedlou’s shadowy connections to Iran’s oil mafia, a group of powerful officials who, according to some newspapers in Tehran, have embezzled billions of dollars of oil revenues. Saeedlou is the nephew of one of the leading figures in the oil mafia, according to a Majlis deputy who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

To become head of the central bank, Saeedlou must be approved by the bank’s board of directors before being appointed to the post. If selected as the candidate, however, Saeedlou is likely to be accepted as Ahmadinejad as president heads the board which includes the Economics Minister, the head of administration and planning organisation, and the Commerce Minister as members.

It had been previously expected that Parviz Davoudi would take up the post as head of the country’s central bank however it is believed that he has rejected the post because of differences with the Economics Minister, Davoud Danesh-Jaafari.

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