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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 15:22 GMT
'Unknown' given Iran oil ministry
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad
Mr Ahmedinejad's previous nomination was rejected by MPs
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has nominated a man with little experience of the energy business to be his country's new oil minister.

Sadeq Mahsuli, a former Revolutionary Guards commander like the president, was among the nominations to four ministries in the cabinet.

Mr Mahsuli now faces a vote of confidence in the Iranian parliament.

The previous nominee, Ali Saeedlou, was rejected by the Majlis for a similar lack of experience.

The president also nominated Mahmud Farshidi as minister of education, Parviz Kazemi as minister of welfare and social security, and Mohammad Nazemi-Ardakani as co-operatives minister.

President Ahmedinejad was required to propose the new ministers 70 days after his original nominees were rejected by the Majlis in August.

Surprise

Mr Mahsuli is an engineering and business graduate, who previously served as governor of Orumiyeh province and as a deputy defence minister.

He was also an adviser to the Expediency Council, which arbitrates in disputes between the Majlis and the Guardian Council.

Mohsen Yayhavi, a board member of Iran's National Oil Company (NIOC) and member of the Majlis energy committee, told Reuters that he had not heard of Mr Mahsuli.

"Nobody in the parliament knows him either," he said.

"Presumably the amount of information that we have about him is about as much as he knows about oil."

The nomination of Mr Mahsuli also comes as a surprise after the head of the energy committee told Reuters news agency at the weekend that conservative academic Ali Asqar Zarei was the president's choice for the oil ministry.

Iran is the world's fourth biggest crude oil producer and the appointment of a new oil minister will be watched closely.

Many traders think concerns over Iran's last nomination for the oil portfolio, and continuing tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, have helped oil prices to rise to record levels in previous months.


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