BAD JOKE – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: We wrote about this ridiculous possibility last week, and now it's a reality. Nothing is that surprising in the ridiculous orbit of Iran. From Britain's Guardian:
A senior Iranian revolutionary guards commander targeted by international sanctions has taken over the presidency of OPEC after he became Iran's oil minister on Wednesday.
Rostam Ghasemi, head of the Khatam al-Anbia military and industrial base, was one of four ministersnominated by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to join his cabinet last week and approved by Iran's conservative-dominated parliament.
Ghasemi is currently subject to US, EU and Australian sanctions and his assets have been blacklisted by US Treasury and western powers. He took 216 votes from the 246 deputies present in the 290-seat parliament.
Iranian state media interpreted the vote as a reaction by Iran's parliament to international sanctions against the country, especially those which have targeted the revolutionary guards and the country's nuclear programme.
"The clever and decisive vote of Iranian MPs for engineer Ghasemi to become the oil minister is a meaningful and crucial response to the attacks against the guards from the west's media empire," said Ramedan Sharif, the head of the revolutionary guards public relations' unit, in quotes carried by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.
COMMENT: This dandy becomes president of OPEC, the world's powerful oil cartel, because OPEC has a rotating presidency, and it's Iran's turn. So the Iranian oil minister automatically heads OPEC.
This is a crazy situation. Let's see if the other OPEC nations, many of which are reasonably rational, will change the rules and prevent this farce from happening. The world's economy is precarious enough. With an Iranian heading OPEC, how much faith will people have in the future of international oil markets?
August 4, 2011