Iranian oil ministry gets backing

TEHRAN, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Iranian president's choice of the country's oil minister has solutions for Iran's oil and gas sector, a lawmaker on a parliamentary energy committee said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated Brig. Gen. Rostam Qasemi to take charge of the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade as well as Ministry of Oil.


Qasemi is the target of U.S. and European sanctions for his work on Iran's nuclear program. If he becomes oil minister, he would sit as the rotating president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Hamid-Reza Katouzian, the head of the Iranian Parliament's energy committee, described Qasemi as "a practical person" who understands the strategic nature of oil and natural gas, Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

Ahmadinejad had declared himself caretaker oil minister after earlier nominations were rejected by lawmakers. The president has fallen out of step with some of the country's more conservative leaders.

Qasemi told lawmakers during the weekend that the sanctions against him weren't important.

"The U.S. has imposed sanctions against me not the United Nations … and this country is not important," he was quoted as saying.


Iran is facing difficulties securing a consumer base for its vast energy supplies because of economic sanctions.

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