Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Strike Oil

In July 2011, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Maj. Gen. Rostam Qassemi of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as oil minister,[1] bringing the number of former IRGC officers in his cabinet to twelve out of eighteen. Yet the IRGC’s seizure of the Oil Ministry could have far reaching economic, political, and strategic implications.

In his decree, Ahmadinejad urged Qassemi to work for “the creatures of God” and the “material and spiritual progress” of Iran[2] but said little about the problems facing Iran’s aging oil industry as a result of international sanctions, which have imposed crushing financial and technological restrictions on Tehran’s ability to boost production in oil and gas fields, particularly those shared with neighboring countries…