TEHRAN – Iran’s news
foreign minister has named Ali Baqeri Kani, a senior diplomat, to replace Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, chief negotiator in talks on Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world countries.
Baqeri, who was named deputy foreign minister for political affairs, had been a senior negotiator in nuclear talks between Iran and the West under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2007 to 2013.
Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian also named Muhammad Fathali as his deputy for administrative and financial affairs and Mehdi Safari, a former ambassador to China and Russia, as deputy for economic diplomacy. He appointed Araqchi as his advisor.
It’s not yet clear whether the new deputy foreign minister will play as central a role in nuclear negotiations as his predecessor.
Baqeri is a leading critic of the 2015 deal and the recent negotiations in Vienna. He was the deputy to Saeed Jalili who headed nuclear negotiations with the West from 2007 to 2013.
Before being appointed the foreign ministry political deputy, Baqeri was the head of the judiciary’s human rights council, a position he was appointed to by then-chief justice Ebrahim Raisi.
Before that, he held several positions dealing with regional affairs at the foreign ministry, which he joined close to 30 years ago.
President Raisi took office in August stating that he was open to resuming nuclear talks, but they had to guarantee the national interests of the Iranian people.
“Analysts said the reshuffle was intended as a warning that a much tougher policy could lie ahead if talks drag on over bringing Washington back into a landmark nuclear deal that was abandoned by former U.S. president Donald Trump,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote.
Talks have been frozen since the new government replaced the avid supporter of the negotiations – former president Hassan Rouhani’s administration. There is still no date for resuming the talks over returning the U.S. to compliance with the agreement.
Moreover, it’s not yet clear whether future negotiations will be run out of the Foreign Ministry, as under Rouhani, or the National Supreme Security Council.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Monday said the Vienna talks would happen “in the near future”.