Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not attend the June OPEC meeting, despite naming himself the interim caretaker of Iran’s oil ministry, IRNA reported yesterday.

Iran currently holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which next meets on June 8 in Vienna.

“In an in-person meeting, the president announced that he will not attend the coming meeting of OPEC,” Shojaeddin Bazargani, a senior oil ministry official, told IRNA.

Ahmadinejad has reportedly added that he will assign one of his cabinet ministers to attend the meeting.

Previously, Iranian MPs had indicated that since the OPEC meeting is ordinarily attended by cabinet ministers, the presence of Iran’s president would be an “insult” to Iran.

In the meantime, Iran’s parliamentary watchdog, the Guardian Council, has challenged Ahmadinejad’s role as interim head of the oil ministry.

Last week, Ahmadinejad announced that he will act as the head of the most strategically important ministry, after dismissing the oil minister during the merger of eight ministries into four.

He announcement led to the speculation that he would chair the coming OPEC meeting in June.

Despite challenges by the Guardian Council, an Ahmadinejad aide announced yesterday that the president would remain as caretaker of the oil ministry, arguing that the Guardian Council’s decision cannot be applied retroactively.