TEHRAN- Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday one of his ministers will take his place at the next OPEC meeting, the official IRNA news agency reported, a move seen as retreat in a power struggle with hardline rulers.
The president and his allies have been fiercely criticized by conservative politicians, hardline senior clerics and the elite Revolutionary Guards in the past weeks for trying to obtain wide-ranging powers.
Ahmadinejad took control of OPEC's second biggest crude producer's lucrative oil and gas industry after dismissing the oil minister earlier this month as part of a plan to merge eight ministries, including oil and energy to slim down size of the government.
It was was also announced that Ahmadinejad would represent Iran at the next Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting on June 8 in Vienna. Iran holds the one-year rotating presidency of OPEC.
"Ahmadinejad announced that he will not take part at the OPEC meeting in June ... and will appoint one of his cabinet ministers to attend the meeting," IRNA quoted senior oil ministry official Shojaoddin Bazargani.