One of the major events during the month of August was the cabinet reshuffling by President Ahmadinejad. In a surprise move, the Petroleum and the Mines and Industries ministers were dismissed by the President, although it was originally reported that the two ministers had resigned voluntarily. The dismissal of these two ministers brings the number of changes in the Cabinet since the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s presidency to four. Exactly one year ago, another two ministers were sacked by the president for not meeting his requirements. The supporters of President Ahmadinejad see these changes as a sign of the president’s constant evaluation and improvement of the cabinet. The opponents argue that it is evidence of the inability of the government to bring about economic reform coupled with the President’s lack of tolerance for any opposing views in his cabinet.
One of the reasons behind the
dismissal of the Mines and Industries minister, Mr. Tahmasebi, is believed to be
the poor performance of the sector during the last two years. The consistent double digit growth of
the industrial sector during the years before Ahmadinejad’s presidency had set a
high growth benchmark in this sector. According to the Central Bank of
As for the Petroleum Minister, Mr. Vaziri-Hamaneh, it is rumoured that his opposing views with the president on the issue of ownership and distribution of the oil income has cost him his job. It is also reported that the Ministry’s inability to attract much needed foreign investment for development of the Iranian oil and gas fields is another reason for dismissing the minister. It is believed that the current managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Mr. Gholam Hossein Nozari, will be selected by the President for this very crucial position in the cabinet. He is now the caretaker Petroleum Minister. This is good news since Mr. Nozari is well-educated and well-respected in the ministry and has a great deal of executive experience in the field of oil and gas.
Regardless of the motives, these changes could result into a positive outcome for the country’s economy given that these two ministries play crucial roles in terms of economic reform and growth. The president has selected the caretakers of these ministries until official candidates are introduced to the Parliament for a vote of confidence.
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