TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not attend the next OPEC meeting and will send one his ministers instead, a senior official was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Monday.
"In a face to face meeting with the president, Ahmadinejad announced that he will not take part at the OPEC meeting in June based on his own decision and will appoint one of his cabinet ministers to attend the meeting," IRNA quoted senior oil ministry official Shojaoddin Bazargani.
Ahmadinejad dismissed the oil minister earlier this month as part of a plan to merge eight ministries, including oil and energy to slim down size of the government.
The president said he would take over the portfolio, opening the possibility that he would also represent Iran at the next Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on June 8 in Vienna. Iran holds the one-year rotating presidency of OPEC.
The country's constitutional watchdog body said Ahmadinejad had no legal right to the post, Iranian media reported Monday.
A caretaker of Iran's oil ministry would have little impact on its oil supply policy, as the final say in major policy issues rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
However, the incumbent would lead Iran's negotiations at OPEC meetings, drive energy sector development and sign off on both international and domestic oil and gas deals.