NewsSpecial WireIran’s president names Revolutionary Guards commander as oil chief

Iran’s president names Revolutionary Guards commander as oil chief

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Nov. 16 – Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice for the key post of Iran’s new Oil Minister is a veteran of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran Focus has learnt. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 16 – Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s choice for the key post of Iran’s new Oil Minister is a veteran of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran Focus has learnt.

Seyyed-Mohsen Tasalloti’s candidacy must first be approved by the Majlis, or Parliament, for the influential government portfolio.

His official biography, distributed to various news outlets in Iran on Tuesday, says that 51-year-old Tasalloti was a former head of the petrochemical organisation of the Bandar-Mahshahr, southern Iran, and had worked for the state-run National Petrochemicals Company for over a decade.

It also mentions that he formerly headed the Interior Ministry’s construction office and was a deputy governor of Markazi and West Azerbaijan provinces, in central and north-western Iran respectively.

However, a former government official told Iran Focus that Tasalloti had a far more sinister past, serving alongside fellow IRGC commander Ahmadinejad in a military garrison in western Iran during the 1980s.

Tasalloti is the third candidate put forward by Ahmadinejad for the sole empty government post.

Earlier this month, the hard-line president nominated Seyed Sadegh Mahsouli, another IRGC veteran with impeccable revolutionary credentials but with virtually no experience in the oil and financial sectors, as the country’s new Oil Minister. With the Majlis set to reject him, Mahsouli withdrew his candidacy.

Prior to that, Ahmadinejad nominated his close confidante Ali Saeedlou for the post. 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. Majlis rejected his candidacy.

When Tasalloti went on to become the deputy governor of West Azerbaijan, Ahmadinejad was appointed as a district governor of one of the towns in the province.

If confirmed next week by Majlis, Tasalloti’s appointment would mark another victory in the slate of the IRGC and would add to their ever-increasing influence over virtually every existing government institution. The IRGC’s loyalty lies strictly with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Until now, Iran’s former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had held an unofficial reign over what Iranians widely refer to as the country’s “Oil Mafia”, with his sons, close relatives, and political protégés controlling the Oil Ministry and the shadowy network of privately-owned companies working in Iran’s petroleum sector.

Ahmadinejad had vowed prior to the elections earlier this year that, when in power, he would clean up the “Oil Mafia” in Iran. He left little doubt that he was targeting Rafsanjani’s control of the oil sector.

Iran ranks second in oil production among the OPEC states, accounting for some 80 percent of the country’s export revenues.

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