ANALYSIS: Larijani’s shock departure

Ali Larijani resigns

Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, has resigned. This is a big deal!

The fact that Larijani had threatened to resign several times was an open secret in Iran; a fact that was even acknowledged by the government spokesman, Gholam-hossein Elham, in his announcement of Larijani’s resignation (Al Jazeera has good round up of some of Larijani’s conflicts with Ahmadinejad).

What is surprising is Ayatollah Khamenei’s agreement to this resignation and the reported replacement of Larijani by Saeed Jalili, a deputy foreign minister for European affairs who actually has very little diplomatic experience (Jalili’s experience at the foreign Ministry prior to being assigned as deputy minister by Ahmadinejad was in personnel matters). What Jalili does have is a very close relationship with Ahmadinejad. As such, the move, if it is confirmed, reflects yet another enhancement of Ahmadinejad’s fortunes in Iranian politics.

So far the Iranian system seems to be in a state of shock. Larijani was considered a successful handler of the Iranian nuclear file and his agreement with the IAEA regarding a work plan to resolve the remaining outstanding issues over Iran’s nuclear program an important step forward. [complete article]

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