Envoy: Iran Serious to Get OPEC Top Job in December
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran will not back down in its quest to secure the top job of OPEC and that it chances are high for assuming the presidency of the oil cartel for a three-year period, an Iranian official with OPEC said Sunday.
Iran’s representative at the OPEC Executive Committee Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told the Tasnim News Agency that Iran has no intention to withdraw its candidacy for the post which is in need of unanimous votes of the OPEC member countries.
"Iran is determined to secure the post of OPEC secretary general and we have no intention to leave the race," he said.
He also noted that Iran’s recent chairmanship of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has nothing to do with the OPEC secretary general issue.
OEPC member states in their 162nd OPEC Geneva Conference in 2012 failed to reach agreement on electing a new secretary general, which led to extension of tenure of its current Secretary General Abdalla el-Badri for one more year.
OPEC is a Vienna-based intergovernmental organization of 12 oil-producing countries, which groups Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
The choice of a secretary general must be unanimous, which has frequently resulted in stalemate because members canot agree on a candidate easily.
“Certainly we will not let those countries that are oppressive against Iran to take the role of the secretary general... If a number of OPEC members do not alter their position towards Iran, like before, Iran will not back down either, ” Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in early September.
He has also said that the chances OPEC would be able to appoint a new secretary general to run the group's Vienna secretariat when it makes another attempt in December would be dim.
"I think it's unlikely that Iran can take the secretary general [post]. Not only Iran, neither can other countries take the position," Zanganeh was quoted as saying.
But an Iranian lawmaker, Hossein Amiri Khamkani, said in late July that despite "tight competition between Iran and Iraq to become OPEC’s secretary general, it seems that our country has a higher chance of securing this top post.”
“If Iran assumes the position of secretary general at the OPEC, it will definitely be influential in numerous decisions made by the organization, and also in [determining] the level of production as well as exports and imports of oil in the world,” the lawmaker noted.
The three candidates that OPEC ministers have to choose from when they next meet in Vienna in December are Saudi OPEC governor Majid al-Moneef; Thamir Ghadhban, energy adviser to Iraq’s prime minister; and former Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari.