Iranian media has generally portrayed the replacement of Javadi as a normal development that could help the NIOC push forward with its new agenda in the post-sanctions era. The new NIOC boss, Ali Kardor, previously served as investment and financing director. To be clear, his appointment comes as NIOC seeks $200 billion in investment to revive Iran’s oil and gas industry.
The Wall Street Journal reported June 13 that the reshuffle was decided after disagreements among top Iranian oil executives over how to handle foreign investment and what kind of terms should be offered to foreign companies. Citing two people familiar with the matter, the journal revealed that the disputes contributed to delays in tendering the new Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC), an issue that reportedly very much upset Zangeneh.
A few days before the ousting of Javadi, the petroleum minister had said that IPC needs revisions, but promised that the first IPC deals would be signed within months, Bloomberg reported June 11, citing Seda Weekly magazine. IPC is designed to lure annual foreign investment of $50 billion to Iran’s oil and gas sector. As such, it appears reasonable that delays in tendering the contract, which covers more than 50 projects, have upset top authorities, including the petroleum minister. However, there are some speculations that the real reason behind Javadi’s ousting was in fact the increasing conservative pressure on the administration of President Hassan Rouhani over the Crescent affair.