World Bulletin / News Desk
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed outgoing Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to head the Atomic Energy Organisation on Friday, state media said, replacing a hardliner with a pragmatist to take charge of Tehran's nuclear programme.
Rouhani, a relative moderate who took office on Aug. 3, has pledged to improve Iran's ties with the outside world and ease stringent international sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme.
Appointing Salehi is a further signal that Rouhani intends to pursue a more flexible approach to Iran's nuclear dispute with the West than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) is not directly involved in nuclear negotiations with world powers, but is in charge of operating Iran's nuclear facilities.
He also represents Tehran at the annual member state gatherings of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna each September.
Salehi, Iran's foreign minister under Ahmadinejad from 2011 until Thursday when parliament approved his replacement, returns to his previous job as head of the AEOI.
A new head of the Supreme National Security Council, who has traditionally acted as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, has yet to be appointed.
The delay has led some Iran-watchers to speculate Rouhani may want to the bring the job of nuclear negotiator under the foreign ministry, giving an even stronger signal that he wants to streamline the talks process.Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ağustos 2013, 13:02