|Iran appoints new IAEA envoy||
TEHRAN – Reza Najafi was appointed on Tuesday as Iran’s new ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency.
President Hassan Rohani approved Najafi’s nomination by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Najafi, who takes the place of Ali Asghar Soltanieh, had previously served as the director of the Foreign Ministry department for disarmament and international security, the deputy director of the Foreign Ministry department for political and international affairs, and Iran’s deputy representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Soltanieh, who held the job for some seven years, led negotiations between Iran and the UN nuclear agency over the country’s nuclear program.
IAEA chief nuclear inspector Herman Nackaerts, Soltanieh’s counterpart in the talks, is due to retire next month, meaning both sides may enter any new round of discussions with new chief negotiators. The next meeting has yet to be scheduled.
The Iran-IAEA discussions are separate from, but still closely linked to, broader negotiations between Tehran and six world powers aimed at an overall political solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West claims may be geared to developing nuclear weapons.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel nuclear power stations, and for medical purposes.
In ten rounds of talks since early 2012, Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog have failed to achieve an agreement on further investigation into the country’s nuclear program.
The IAEA has called on Iran to sign and implement a structured approach document to resolve the outstanding issues and has stated that gaining access to the Parchin military site, which is located southeast of Tehran, is a priority.
Iran has made it clear that access to the “conventional” military site would not be possible before an agreement is reached on the structured approach document.
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