Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has caved to pressure and appointed a new caretaker to oversee the Ministry of Oil.
Iranian media report that the president has appointed Mohammad Aliabadi. This comes after Parliament filed a motion with the judiciary yesterday, decrying the president for installing himself in the caretaker position.
Parliament’s move, supported by 165 of the 198 MPs present in the House, was prompted by a report from its energy commission.
Parliament and the Guardian Council had challenged Ahmadinejad’s temporary takeover of the oil ministry during its merger with another ministry, calling the arrangement unconstitutional.
Parliament’s energy commission had argued that “in his capacity as the minister of oil, Mr. Ahmadinejad has issued orders that blatantly expose the disposal of public property." The report had called on the president to “speedily” choose a minister or caretaker.
Last month, Ahmadinejad announced that he would serve as interim head of the Ministry of Oil. That triggered unrelenting disputes with Parliament and the Guardian Council. As well, the Islamic Republic’s conservative elite, has been watching Ahmadinejad’s recent power grabs with suspicion, ever since the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei overruled the president’s decision to replace his Minister of Intelligence.
Mohammad Aliabadi was involved with the Tehran municipal politics when Ahamdinejad was mayor. During Ahmadinejad’s first term as president, Aliabadi served as his aide, as well as head of the Physical Education Organization and head of the national Olympic Committee.
In September 2009, he was proposed as a potential candidate for the Ministry of Energy but failed to secure the necessary votes in Parliament. He was then retained by the president’s office as an infrastructure adviser.