Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Rostam Ghasemi to Lead OPEC?

Rostam Ghasemi, a commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has been nominated for the position of the country’s Oil Minister, which puts him in line to be the OPEC president. Iran took the presidency of OPEC in October 2010. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated Ghasemi and four others (the others apparently not connected to the Revolutionary Guard). The Iranian parliament will decide who gets the job, but perhaps Ghasemi has an advantage with a connection to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Interesting to see the Foreign Policy blog is predicting that Iran will be stronger than ever one year from now and is taking George Soros up on bet. See that below.

Rostam Ghasemi

The Guardian:

The nomination follows an extraordinary power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad attempted to take over the oil ministry as its temporary head in May but his move was blocked by parliament. He then appointed Mohammad Aliabadi, a close ally, as a caretaker.

By involving the revolutionary guards – who are under the control of Khamenei – in his cabinet, Ahmadinejad might be trying to alleviate the tensions with those of Khamenei’s supporters who have been threatening the president with impeachment…

In an interview with Fars on Wednesday, Ghasemi said the revolutionary guards would also work as a contractor with the oil ministry if his nomination were approved by parliament. “We have strong and skilful people working for Khatam al-Anbia who are capable of taking up oil-related projects and I don’t have any concerns over the activities of the base,” he was quoted by Fars as saying after the news of his nomination broke out…

Revolutionary guards’ assets, including those personally owned by Ghasemi and dozens of his colleagues, have been blacklisted by the US Treasury and western powers.

The Foreign Policy Blog, by Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, July 27, 2011:

We take billionaire financier George Soros up on the bet he proffered to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week that “the Iranian regime will not be there in a year’s time.” In fact, we want to up the ante and wager that not only will the Islamic Republic still be Iran’s government in a year’s time, but that a year from now, the balance of influence and power in the Middle East will be tilted more decisively in Iran’s favor than it ever has been…

Fast-forward to the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, in January 2009. As a result of the Iraq war, the collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and some fairly astute diplomacy by Iran and its regional allies, the balance of influence and power across the Middle East had shifted significantly against the United States. Scenarios for “weaning” Syria away from Iran were becoming ever more fanciful as relations between Damascus and Tehran became increasingly strategic in quality. Turkey, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was charting a genuinely independent foreign policy, including strategically consequential partnerships with Iran and Syria. Hamas and Hezbollah, legitimated by electoral successes, had emerged as decisively important political actors in Palestine and Lebanon. It was looking progressively less likely that post-Saddam Iraq would be a meaningful strategic asset for Washington and ever more likely that Baghdad’s most important relationships would be with Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

And, increasingly, U.S. allies like Oman and Qatar were aligning themselves with the Islamic Republic and other members of the Middle East’s “resistance bloc” on high-profile issues in the Arab-Israeli arena — as when the Qatari emir flew to Beirut a week after the 2006 Lebanon war to pledge massive reconstruction assistance to Hezbollah strongholds in the south and publicly defended Hezbollah’s retention of its military capabilities.

And, now, the Obama administration stands by helplessly as new openings for Tehran … Read this excellent and thought provoking article at Foreign Policy Blog.