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Iranian President Fires Foreign Minister


Dismissed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (file photo)

Dismissed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (file photo)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Mr. Ahmadinejad dismissed Mottaki Monday and appointed Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as caretaker of the ministry.

The president sent a letter to Mottaki thanking him for his service. Mottaki, who is on an official visit in Senegal, has worked as the country's foreign minister since Mr. Ahmadinejad was first elected president in 2005.

Salehi is considered a close ally of the president. He is one of Iran's vice presidents and serves as the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

It is unclear whether Mr. Ahmadinejad is expecting Salehi to simultaneously carry out his responsibilities as foreign ministry head and atomic energy chief.

Throughout the past year, Iranian media have reported rifts between Mottaki and Iranian lawmakers. According to the reports, the lawmakers felt that additional U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran showed Mottaki's inability to strongly advocate for Tehran.

A fourth round of sanctions was imposed in June. International monitoring shows the sanctions are worsening Iran's economy.

In contrast, Salehi touted Iran's nuclear "self-sufficiency" in December.

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