New York Times: Irans chief nuclear negotiator, who resigned Saturday, will accompany his replacement to nuclear talks in Rome on Tuesday with Javier Solana, the European Unions foreign policy chief, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: October 22, 2007
TEHRAN, Oct. 21 Irans chief nuclear negotiator, who resigned Saturday, will accompany his replacement to nuclear talks in Rome on Tuesday with Javier Solana, the European Unions foreign policy chief, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
The former chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, who had headed Irans negotiating team since 2005, will accompany Saeed Jalili, a deputy foreign minister who was appointed as his successor, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Sunday, the Iranian Students News Agency reported.
Mr. Hosseini said Irans supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all matters of state, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had insisted that Mr. Larijani attend the meeting, the news agency said.
Mr. Larijani, who resigned from his position as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was responsible for leading negotiations with Europe over Irans nuclear program. Analysts viewed the resignation as an indication of the growing rift between Mr. Larijani, viewed in the West as a moderate, and Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has been less interested in negotiating over nuclear issues.
However, he remains a member of the council as the supreme leaders representative.
Mr. Hosseini said it was still not clear weather Mr. Larijani would accompany Mr. Jalili to future meetings as well.
But he added that Mr. Jalilis appointment did not signal a change in Irans nuclear policy. We have always stressed that the nuclear case is a national issue and our officials will pursue it with sensitivity, he was quoted by ISNA as saying.
In the meantime, a group of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran on Friday to continue their talks on uranium enrichment work, the news agency said. The delegation, headed by Olli Heinonen, the agencys deputy director, held discussions with Irans deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaeedi, two weeks ago. The atomic agency hopes to get answers to its questions about Iranian centrifuges, ISNA reported.