Iran's oil min likely to keep job, deputy sacked
Iran's oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari was likely to keep his job in any new cabinet formed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian industry sources said on Tuesday.

The world's fifth-largest oil exporter has seen the worst unrest in 30 years after a disputed presidential election earlier this month. Deputy oil minister Akbar Torkan was replaced on Monday. Sources said he was sacked for political reasons.

Nozari is not politically affiliated to Torkan and there were no signs the minister would follow the deputy, sources said.

"I don't think the president would want to replace Nozari," one said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The president had lots of problems initially getting parliament to accept his choice for oil minister. I don't think he'll want any problems like that now."

Ahmadinejad appointed Nozari, a technocrat, to the job in 2007, in what was seen at the time as a presidential move to exert more control over the strategic ministry.

After coming to power in 2005, Ahmadinejad struggled to fill the oil portfolio. Parliament rejected his first three candidates for the oil ministry before accepting fourth-choice Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh. He later sacked Vaziri-Hamaneh in favour of Nozari.

While Ahmadinejad has sought to increase control over the oil ministry, final say on all major policy matters in Iran lies with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Ahmadinejad has until August 18 to form a new cabinet. Each minister must be approved by parliament.
Posted by: Fred 2009-06-24