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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now the head of Iran’s oil ministry, Bloomberg reports.Ahmadinejad announced late last night that he will oversee the country’s Oil Ministry following the dismissal of its minister, Masoud Mir-Kazemi, over the weekend. The oil ministry – which controls Iran’s biggest source of foreign revenue – is set to merge with the country’s Energy Ministry as part of a larger plan to improve government efficiency and reduce the number of government ministries from 21 to 17 by 2015. Oil revenue accounts for about three quarters of Iran’s budget.
Iran, OPEC’s second-largest crude producer, currently holds the OPEC presidency. It is not clear who is now the head of OPEC’s Iran delegation, although it would appear to be Ahmadinejad.
In addition to dismissing Mir-Kazemi, the president dismissed the heads of Iran’s Welfare and Industry and Mines ministries. He has appointed caretakers to oversee those ministries but said he will personally serve as caretaker for the oil ministry. The use of the term “caretaker” suggests that the role might be temporary.
Nevertheless, the move drew criticism from members of Iran’s parliament, who argued that the president had failed to consult legislators about the mergers. Ahmadinejad countered that his decision was for the benefit of the country.