Iranian nuclear negotiator changed by hardline protege

The election of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was certain to result in a variety of modifications not simply inside prime cupboard positions, however lower-level jobs as nicely. One exception, some had hoped, could be continuity with the employees of nuclear negotiators. That hope might have been dashed with the substitute of pragmatic Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi with hardliner Ali Bagheri Kani, in accordance with a current Foreign Ministry assertion.  

Bagheri Kani was a former main nuclear negotiator throughout Saeed Jalili’s tenure because the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) underneath President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At that point, the nuclear negotiations had been underneath the SNSC. Under President Hassan Rouhani, the file was moved to the overseas ministry underneath Mohammad Javad Zarif. The present nuclear negotiations to deliver the United States again into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — and Iran again into full compliance with the deal — had been being led by Araghchi in Vienna. All sides are nonetheless ready to renew one other spherical of these talks.

Some analysts hope that Araghchi, whereas not deputy overseas minister, will nonetheless proceed to play a central position within the negotiations. But these hopes appear unlikely. The nuclear file is basically again underneath the steerage of the SNSC and intently supervised by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Bagheri Kani additionally has some fascinating household connections. His brother is married to Khamanei’s daughter, and his uncle was Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, a Shiite cleric who held a variety of vital positions inside the Islamic Republic. 

Bagheri Kani himself, regardless of his kinfolk, owes his rising star to Jalili, who drove a tough line with the United States when he managed the nuclear negotiations. His appointment seems to be a concession to Jalili for dropping out of the 2021 presidential race and supporting Raisi. Many critics of the election accused Jalili of simply being a canopy for Raisi. According to the assertion, overseas minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has appointed Araghchi as an advisor, although it’s not clear what that can imply.

One of the primary points within the nuclear negotiations is Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA Director Rafael Grossi was lately in Tehran to strike a deal that will give the IAEA extra entry to Iranian nuclear websites. Iran’s parliament had beforehand handed a legislation that restricted Iran’s participation with the IAEA. The two sides beforehand negotiated an settlement wherein Iran may file information at their websites however not instantly share them with the IAEA till an settlement on the return to the 2015 accords. 

The most up-to-date settlement, in accordance with Grossi, ensured that there wouldn’t be a niche in IAEA information assortment. The new head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad Eslami, defended the settlement to Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. Tasnim News Agency favorably coated his statements with the headline, “The JCPOA cameras have not become active,” by means of presumably they’ve and the hardline administration has needed to retreat considerably.

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