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Iran nuclear policy unchanged

IRAN: Iran said Tuesday its nuclear and foreign policies will not change after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and replaced him with the atomic chief.

No official reasons were given for the surprise move, but several Iranian newspapers on Tuesday linked it to disagreements between Ahmadinejad and Mottaki over foreign policy.

“Iran’s major international policies are defined in higher levels and the foreign ministry executes these policies. We will not see any changes in our basic policies,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly briefing.

“I don’t think there will be any changes in the nuclear policy and the talks” with world powers over Iran’s nuclear programme, he said.

Ahmadinejad on Monday named Ali Akbar Salehi, a vice-president and head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation, as interim foreign minister.

The president came under fire from some MPs and Iran’s leading hardline daily Kayhan Tuesday for announcing the dismissal while Mottaki was in Senegal on an official visit.

“Such moves cheapen the status of the foreign ministry. It means the president does not respect the person who is delivering his own message to another country,” senior conservative MP Ahmad Tavakoli told Mehr news agency.

Kayhan said Ahmadinejad should have waited for the return of the chief diplomat before announcing the sacking. Mottaki is due back in Tehran on Tuesday night. His sacking came just days after Iran held crunch talks in Geneva on December 6 and 7 with world powers over its controversial nuclear dossier.

Further talks are scheduled for next month in Iran’s neighbour Turkey despite clear differences at the end of Geneva meeting between Iran and the group of P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

TEHRAN, Wednesday, AFP

 

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