Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, 68, died at a hospital in capital Tehran on Saturday.
The veteran politician was appointed governor to the OPEC oil group in 1985. He had also served as Iran’s ambassador to Japan from 1990 to 1995.
Kazempour Ardebili was a survivor of the 1981 bombing of the Islamic Republic Party headquarters by the MKO terrorist cult in Tehran which killed 73 top Iranian officials. He was serving as trade minister at the time, appointed the year before.
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh issued a message, saying “I can’t believe that my affable friend, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, has suddenly left this mortal world for eternal destiny and I have sat in mourning for him.”
“Nearly 23 years of close cooperation with Hossein Kazempour Ardebili have put me in a position to testify that he was a religious, educated, humble and very honorable man as well as a true and unassuming servant of the Iranian nation, who was loyal to the Islamic Republic and loved Iran, and its pride and progress was his constant concern,” he said.
“He was a prominent diplomat who intelligently and vigorously defended our national interests at OPEC for more than three decades in the most difficult circumstances and in the face of all troubles,” Zangeneh added.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also described Kazempour Ardebili as “a prominent and unique diplomat,” adding that his passing is “a great loss for the diplomatic community.”
Over the past four decades, Zarif said, Kazempour Ardebili had always been “a clever and strong defender of national interests and a trustworthy, precise and candid advisor to the Islamic Republic’s officials.”
Iran is a founding member of OPEC, sitting on the world’s fourth-biggest oil reserves and largest gas reserves.
The oil industry is on the frontline of the US economic war on Iran, because it accounts for a major portion of the country’s hard currency earnings.