It has been suggested Bijan Namdar Zanganeh took some persuading to succeed Rostam Qasemi as Iran’s Minister of Petroleum late last year. One look at his in-tray when he took office on 15 August may give a hint why. Returning to the Ministry’s helm after years of mismanagement during President Ahmadinejad’s two terms in office, Mr Zanganeh was faced with an oil and gas sector starved of investment, and in dire need of leadership.

Just weeks into his new role, the minister set out three key targets for himself and his team of hand-picked technocrats – over and above the obvious challenges that came with the 2012 imposition of ever-tightening Western sanctions. (CONTINUED - 2099 WORDS)