News / Middle East

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman: No Change in Policy With Sacking of Mottaki

    Dismissed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (file photo)
    Dismissed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (file photo)

    Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told journalists Tuesday that the firing of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Monday will not affect the country's foreign policy, or positions over its nuclear program.

    The sacking of Foreign Minister Mottaqi Monday was the source of more questions than answers Tuesday as journalists eagerly quizzed spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.

    Mehmanparast's stated there would be no change to Iran's foreign policy, but shed little light on what happened or what the future might bring.

    He insists that on a practical basis changes in civil servants or their responsibilities are a normal feature in the workings of Iran's Islamic Republic. He added that key policies have a fixed framework and principles, and that the replacement of a minister will not change those policies.

    The foreign ministry spokesman went on to praise outgoing foreign minister Mottaki and laud his just-named successor, nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

    He says that Mottaki's almost five year stint as foreign minister was marked by great activity and great achievements and that the minister worked diligently to achieve Iran's foreign policy goals. He adds that Salehi is a thinker and a religious man, worthy of respect, and that Iran will be secure as he handles the country's foreign policy, diplomacy, and national interests.

    Several conservative newspapers criticized the firing of Mottaki, and the outspoken editor of the hardline Kayhan daily called it an "open insult." The former foreign minister was on a trip to Africa when the announcement was made that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had replaced him.

    Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr calls the firing "scandalous,"  but points out that Mr. Ahmadinejad is trying to tell the world that he along with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei are "in charge" of Iran's foreign policy.

    He says that President Ahmadinejad went about replacing his minister in a scandalous way, since he was on a visit abroad, and even the hardliners in Iran are criticizing how he went about it. He insists that this shows that Mr. Ahmadinejad was in disagreement with his minister and that firing him was his way of telling everyone both inside and outside Iran who is in charge.

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman: No Change in Policy With Sacking of Mottaki
    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman: No Change in Policy With Sacking of Mottaki

    Mr. Bani Sadr stresses, however, that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei must no doubt have seconded the decision to fire Mottaki or Mr. Ahmadinejad could not have done it. He also argues that the decision to name Ali Akbar Salehi to replace him could be a signal to the West that he and Khamenei will be the ultimate arbiteurs during nuclear negotiations in January.

    Salehi, who holds a doctorate from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is arguably Iran's top nuclear expert. Iran analyst Gary Sick of Columbia University thinks that the choice of Salehi may reveal Iran's desire to put the nuclear issue at the core of its foreign policy.

    "Salehi is one of the real experts in Iran on nuclear issues," he said. "He has been part of that forever, and really knows it top to bottom and all the details. So, if the nuclear issue becomes the center piece of Iranian foreign policy, which it might be, he is probably better positioned than almost anybody else to deal with that."

    Sick notes that the choice of Salehi, who is both affable and well-versed in English, may or may not be a boon to negotiations with the U.S. and the West.

    "He's known to a lot of Americans," said the analyst. "Even I have sat down with him at various times when he was in Vienna. His English is really perfect and he's an approachable person. That may or may not be important. We've had people before, who were at the U.N. and elsewhere, Iranian foreign policy people, who were all of those things, approachable, excellent English, educational background in the United States etc. and in most cases it hasn't made a difference."

    Salehi also attended the American University of Beirut and speaks almost perfect Arabic. Iran's relations with most Arab and Gulf States have been severely strained in recent years, as the recent Wikileaks revelations point out, so the choice of Salehi may also be meant to repair bridges with the East, as well as the West.

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

     

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora