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Iran's next oil minister to face lawmakers

Aug. 6, 2013 at 7:15 AM

TEHRAN, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Iran's new oil minister is set to spell out his agenda during testimony before members of Parliament, the Iranian Oil Ministry said Tuesday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed Bijan Zanganeh as the new oil minister shortly after taking the oath of office Sunday. Zanganeh would return to a position he held from 1997 to 2005 if he gets a full vote of confidence from Iranian lawmakers.

The Oil Ministry's official news agency, Shana, said Zanganeh appeared before members of Parliament to explain his proposals for running the Iranian oil sector. Jalil Beneh, head of a Parliamentary committee on renewable energy, said commissioners would examine his agenda in the next few days.

"I strongly believe he is competent for taking the helm of petroleum ministry," Beneh was quoted as saying.

Zanganeh takes over as Iran tries to cope with economic sanctions imposed on its energy sector. Sanctions are meant to starve Iran of revenue it could use to support a nuclear research program, which Iran maintains is for peaceful purposes.

Beneh said he considered the nominee to be "creative enough" to put the sanctions era behind him.

Iran is a world leader in terms of oil and natural gas production. Sanctions, however, make it difficult for Iran to maintain a reliable consumer base.

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