US Representative Sue Myrick (NC-09) has released the following statement in response to the appointment of General Rostam Ghasemi, senior commander of Iran's Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC), as the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):
"General Ghasemi has been sanctioned by both the United States and the European Union -- most recently by the US on June 8, 2011 -- for the IRGC's human rights abuses against the Iranian People. This is someone who has been linked to Iran's nuclear proliferation activities, and his appointment shows the expanding influence of the IRGC in Iran's economy. Given the continued unrest in the Middle East, we should be concerned at the possible consequences of having such a man at the helm of OPEC".
General Ghasemi was nominated by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Iran's oil minister position, and approved for the position by the Iranian Parliament. This role automatically makes him the head of OPEC since Iran took presidency of the organization last October.