Also New Ministers of Industry, Labor and Sports
By a vote 216-22, with 7 abstentions, the Majlis today overwhelmingly approved the nomination of Rostam Qasemi to become the new oil minister. Qasemi is an IRGC general officer and until now was the commander of its Khatam al-Anbia base, the massive business and industrial arm of IRGC. Qasimi’s experience at Khatam al-Anbia is thought to be relevant at the oil ministry whose priority is completing construction and maintenance projects despite international sanctions against investments in oil and gas industry. Critics raise concerns over IRGC's growing influence over Iran's economy.
The Majlis also approved the nomination of Mehdi Qazanfari to become the minister of Industries, Mines and Trade. The new ministry was created by the merger of the ministry of Industries and Mines and the ministry of Commerce.
The Majlis also approved the nominations of Abdol Reza Sheikholeslami as the minister of Labor and Social Welfare and Mohammad Abbasi as the first minister of the newly created ministry of Youths and Sports.
The overwhelming approvals of the mew ministers by Majlis put an end to months of bitter negotiations and power struggle between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on which ministries to merge to comply with new laws to bring down the number of cabinet departments to 17 and whom to appoint as new ministers. At the end, the speaker and his conservative majority in the parliament triumphed and Ahmadinejad was forced to follow Majlis guidelines on which departments to merge and whom to name as ministers. Qasemi and the other new ministers are not regarded by Majlis as members of Ahmadinejad’s inner circle or sympathetic to the “deviationist” tendencies.