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IRAN: Ahmadinejad gunning for his own oil minister for disclosing grim numbers

February 15, 2010 |  2:47 pm

Iran-mirkazemi-fardaAs if there isn't enough turmoil between Iran's government and the opposition, now President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be stirring up trouble within his own Cabinet.

The politically moderate Iranian news website Fardanews is reporting (in Farsi) that Minister of Petroleum Masoud Mir-Kazemi is about to dismissed after he infuriated Ahmadinejad with his official report showing a decline in the country's oil output during Ahmadinejad's first term as president, an informed source told the news website. 

"The president has expressed dissatisfaction with this report and he is seeking a replacement now for the oil portfolio," the source told the news website in a report published Monday. 

The ministry oversees the world's third-largest proven oil reserves. Apparently Ahmadinejad wants Seifollah Jashnsaz, head of the National Iranian Oil Company, to take over Mir-Kazemi's position.

Jashnsaz is willing to toe the line. He recently boasted on state television that Ahmadinejad's administration had attracted much more foreign investment than envisaged in Iran's national economic development plan.

But Mir-Kazemi drew Ahmadinejad's ire when he acknowledged the government has failed to meet its investment targets.  

"We've failed to even sign memorandums of understanding beyond $20 billion for the current calendar year, let alone signing contracts," the minister said recently. "We should attract $52 billion of foreign investment each year."

Gholam-Ali Meygolinejad, a Ahmadinejad acolyte in serving in parliament's Energy Committee, has hinted that the oil minister may face a censure motion if he failed to adjust his rhetoric.

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: Montage of Iran's oil ministry and Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi. Credit: Fardanews

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