Iran's former FM to lead nuclear organization

Aug. 16, 2013 at 10:34 AM   |   Comments

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TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Iranian government said Friday former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was appointed by the president to lead the country's nuclear organization.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a former chief nuclear negotiator for the Iranian government, is working to assemble his administrative team to guide him through his first term in office.

He took office Aug. 3 after running as a moderate, compared with his conservative rival candidates. Presidential spokesman Mohammad Reza Sadeq confirmed to the official Islamic Republic News Agency the president appointed Salehi to serve as the head of the Nuclear Energy Organization.

He replaces Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who was wounded in a 2010 assassination attempt. Last year, Abbasi-Davani said U.N. nuclear inspectors had failed to convince Iran a visit to the Parchin military complex, a suspected nuclear development site, was necessary.

Salehi in July, while serving as foreign minister, said he was committed to international negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.

Two rounds of talks in Kazakhstan were concluded this year. Iranian lawmakers said they were willing to further negotiations but added they wanted relief from international sanctions pressure.

Iran says its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes. Sanctions are designed to rob Iran of finances its adversaries say could fund a weapons program.

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