Iran Appoints Rouhani-Era Diplomat to Nuclear Talks Team
Iran has retained on its nuclear talks team an official who helped to negotiate the original atomic deal with world powers, suggesting the hawkish new administration is prepared to tap more experienced and accommodating diplomats as talks on reviving the ailing accord prepare to resume.
Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency under moderate former President Hassan Rouhani, was appointed deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, according to a statement Sunday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Najafi had held the position in a caretaker capacity after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected to replace Rouhani in June, and his appointment has now become permanent.
Indirect talks with the U.S. on resuscitating the 2015 agreement are expected to renew in November. Ali Bagheri Kani, a hawkish conservative, is leading the country’s negotiating team.
One of the major sticking points in the talks, which Iran halted in June after Raisi’s election, is Iran’s demand for a guarantee the U.S. won’t repeat former President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to exit the deal and reimpose tough sanctions on Tehran.
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