Man of the people

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who ran for election as an anti-elite populist, has failed in an attempt to appoint a wealthy and well-connected crony as oil minister.

Dubbed a “billionaire general” by one lawmaker, Sadegh Mahsouli withdrew his name Wednesday when it became clear that he lacked support in parliament.

“How can a person who has gained all his wealth through rents and special relationships be a good minister for a cabinet that claims to be justice-seeking?” asked Emad Afrough, a prominent lawmaker. Mahsouli, who like Ahmadinejad served in the Revolutionary Guard, was also criticized by the pro-government daily Kayhan and by lawmakers from the country’s southwest, home to rich oil fields and an impoverished Arab minority.