Saturday, July 30, 2011

Expansion of power and influence by IRGC continues

Rostam Ghasemi, an IRGC commander (already under international sanctions for his involvement in clandestine acts with regards to the nuclear energy) has been proposed to take over the helm at the crucial Oil Ministry, and by default, the head of OPEC, by none other than Ahmadinejad. He is the head of Khatam-ol-anbiah (a significant industrial and financial arm of IRGC) and has been a party in many oil and gas contracts won by IRGC. Although he does not yet have the mandate of Majlis and the members of the parliament have to accept his candidacy.

Being included in sanctions may restrict much of his movement outside of Iran to perhaps very few countries, which may prove to be a hindrance when considering the duties of the head of OPEC.

Is this Ahmadinejad’s way of once again cozying up to the IRGC and in a way bribing them to garner their support in the bigger power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei? How will this play in the coming months? Will the guards or at least a portion of it abandon Khamenei and side with Ahmadinejad/Mashaei faction?

Or could this be an act of appeasement by Ahmadinejad towards the supreme leader to alleviate the tensions between the two sides? Especially at a time of turmoil when the internal squabbles and struggles have aided the opposition.

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