Iran: new president strikes fear in oil markets

The UK Business Telegraph reports June 27 that Iran’s president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a fundamentalist hardliner who won the run-off three days ago as a darkhorse populist candidate, has called for a radical shake-up of the country’s oil industry and a crackdown on foreign companies. Domestic firms will be given priority in awarding contracts. “I will cut the hands off the mafias of power and factions who have a grasp on our oil, I stake my life on this,” he said. “People must see their share of oil money in their daily lives.”

He backed away from earlier threats to shut down Teheran’s “ungodly” stock exchange, but still plans to slash interest rates and give the poor large holdings of state enterprises.

Oil prices shot up to $60 a barrel last week as Ahmadinejad shot ahead in the polls. In Germany, the respected Kiel Institute for World Economics warned that oil could reach the trauma levels of $100 a barrel if there is further supply disruption in Russia or a political upset in Saudi Arabia.

See our last post on Iran, on surging world energy consumption and the unprecedented oil shock.