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Iran’s Parliament Confirms Conservative as Top Diplomat

Category: World

Date: 2021-08-25T21:19:59+0000
Iran’s Parliament Confirms Conservative as Top Diplomat

Shafaq News / Iran’s parliament confirmed an experienced diplomat trusted by the country’s hard-liners as its new foreign minister as the government prepares for a possible return to nuclear negotiations in coming weeks.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is expected to closely follow the line set by Iran’s conservative new President Ebrahim Raisi, who has said he wants to restore the 2015 nuclear deal while resisting U.S. efforts to negotiate a wider agreement that might limit Iran’s influence across the Middle East.

Mr. Raisi has also said he wants Iran’s new foreign policy to focus on improving Iran’s regional ties and influence, an area on which Mr. Amir-Abdollahian has spent much of his career. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is the main decision maker on all major strategic issues, including the nuclear deal.

Mr. Amir-Abdollahian was first promoted into the government under hard-line former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Political analysts note his close ties to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its former foreign forces leader, Qassem Soleimani, killed by the U.S. in 2020.

However, Western officials also say Mr. Amir-Abdollahian, 57 years old, is a pragmatist who has dealt directly with U.S. officials before. He was one of several Iranian diplomats involved in talks on the security situation in Iraq with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker in 2007.

European diplomats who have spoken with the new foreign minister in recent weeks say he has been clear that he wants to continue negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and that he is someone the West can work with.

“Obviously yes. I mean he is a career diplomat—very well experienced,” said a senior European Union official. “It is absolutely somebody we can do business with.”

Mr. Raisi has appointed a number of former IRGC officials to his government, including several who, like the new president, are subject to U.S. sanctions.

“Determined to follow balanced, active, & smart diplomacy based on principles of dignity, wisdom, & prudence,” Mr. Amir-Abdollahian posted on Twitter after his confirmation. “Neighbors & Asia #1 priority.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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