“Resignation of nuclear chief possibly part of wider effort against Ahmadinejad”

“Resignation of nuclear chief possibly part of wider effort against Ahmadinejad”
July 16-19, 2009
     Analysts believe the resignation of Gholam Reza Aghazadeh as chairman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization was due to his opposition to the reelection of President Ahmadinejad. Although the reasons for his resignation are unknown, Aghazadeh, who led Iran’s rapid advances in nuclear technology for 12 years, is reportedly close to Ahmadinejad opponents Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Times Online, Christian Science Monitor). Some analysts believe Ahmadinejad may struggle to find officials willing to work with his controversially reelected government. Manal Lufti reports on “strong speculations” that Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki may also resign soon as part of an opposition effort to undermine the Ahmadinejad administration (Asharq Alawsat).
     In a statement, incoming IAEO head Ali Akbar Salehi, a former envoy to the IAEA, said that “legal and technical discussions about Iran’s nuclear case have finished” and called on “all sides” to resolve the issue (Xinhua). Although the IAEO does not lead Iran’s negotiations with other states, one analyst describes Salehi’s appointment as a “positive signal to the West”. Salehi signed the IAEA’s Additional Protocol in 2003, although Iran later withdrew its commitment to the protocol (Reuters). Others argue that only Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can initiate changes in Iran’s nuclear policy (Al Jazeera).
Times Online | Christian Science Monitor | Asharq Alawsat | Xinhua | Reuters | Al Jazeera

Click here for an exclusive Simons Centre interview conducted in August 2008 with former IAEO head Gholam Reza Aghazadeh

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