The SPQ1 gas platform is seen on the southern edge of Iran's South Pars gas field in the Gulf, January 26, 2011.
Caren Firouz / Reuters

No figure in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s tightknit cabinet was more lifted by the recent Iranian election results than Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh. The Iranian economy hangs on his ability to deliver on his ambitious plans to attract $200 billion in foreign investment to expand Iran’s enormous oil and gas export potential. Following the election, which saw allies of Rouhani gain ground, Zangeneh has a freer hand to push ahead with this agenda.

Still, Zangeneh’s job won’t be easy. His ability to succeed depends on his capacity to take into consideration his rivals’ key interests, particularly those of companies linked to the powerful Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). And on that score, although Zangeneh has vowed to be accommodating of IRGC interests, there is huge uncertainty on whether he can succeed on this critical test.


Hardliners have been particularly critical of Zangeneh since Rouhani returned him to

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  • ALEX VATANKA is a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute and the Jamestown Foundation in Washington D.C. 
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