OPEC becomes political fighting ground between Iran, Saudi Arabia
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Jun 8, 2016
While the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are in talks to elect the best nominee for the position of the carter’s secretary-general, Iran makes efforts to prevent Saudi backed candidates from securing the chair. Parviz Mina, who earlier served as a member of OPEC Long-Term Strategy Committee, told Trend that Tehran is reluctant to see a pro-Saudi nominee in the position of secretary general due to the existing tensions between Tehran and Riyadh. This is while Tehran has expressed support for the Nigerian nominee Mohammed Barkindo in election for the position. Parviz Mina further played down the role of technical knowledge and capabilities of nominees in the latest round of election in OPEC highlighting the role of political incentives. According to the expert, although a secretary general does not have a direct role in making decisions and he is responsible for implementing decisions made by the members during conferences, a secretary general can impact the decisions through research works carried out before the conferences. Ties between Riyadh and Tehran escalated after execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudis on Jan. 2. Following the execution, angry Iranian protesters stormed Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad. Right after the attacks on its diplomatic missions, the Saudi Arabia said it severed ties with the Islamic Republic. OPEC has been looking for a replacement for Libya’s Abdalla El-Badri, who was elected as acting secretary-general in December 2007 until the end of July after serving full terms. The consensus of all members, which in the past had sometimes been elusive, is required for the appointment of a new secretary-general.