Iran’s new overseas minister could carry ‘powerful line’ to nuclear talks

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has tapped conservative diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as his overseas minister, state media retailers reported on Wednesday. Following his anticipated approval by parliament, Amir-Abdollahian will substitute Mohammad Javad Zarif, the US-educated architect of the nuclear deal who served within the position since 2013.  

Reuters experiences that Amir-Abdollahian, 56, is a staunch anti-Westerner with ties to Iran’s highly effective Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

He beforehand served as Iran’s deputy overseas minister for Arab and African affairs between 2011 and 2016. His different postings embody ambassador to Bahrain and deputy chief of mission at Iran’s embassy in Baghdad. Amir-Abdollahian holds a PhD in worldwide relations from Tehran University. 

An Iranian nuclear negotiator described ​​Amir-Abdollahian to Reuters as a “hard-line diplomat.”

“If the Foreign Ministry remains in charge of Iran’s nuclear dossier, then obviously Tehran will adopt a very tough line in the talks,” stated the negotiator, who requested to not be named. 

Amir-Abdollahian’s appointment comes amid stalled efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, which supplied Iran sanctions reduction in alternate for limits on its nuclear program. The Iranian authorities has repeatedly violated the phrases of the deal since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed powerful financial sanctions.  

No date has been set for a seventh spherical of talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna, and the election of hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi has thrown prospects for a revived deal into additional doubt.

Amir-Abdollahian, who’s at the moment a global affairs adviser to the Iranian parliament speaker, served on Reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s nuclear negotiating group. In 2007, Amir-Abdollahian participated in uncommon US-Iran talks over the struggle in Iraq.

He referenced the Baghdad talks in a 2018 tweet wherein he claimed that “negotiations with the US has never been a taboo subject.”

“Negotiation in itself is not the issue here,” stated Amir-Abdollahian, including, “Rather, it is the US’ bullying behavior.” 

Raisi’s different cupboard picks embody former Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji as oil minister and Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, an ex-deputy chief of employees of the armed forces, as protection minister. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, who’s sought by Interpol over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural heart in Argentina, was tapped as inside minister. None of Raisi’s ministerial appointees are ladies.

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