Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mottaki Out

Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad has replaced his foreign minister:
"Iran’s arch-conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, summarily fired his foreign minister on Monday, replacing him with atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

"The jilted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in Senegal on an official visit when Mr. Ahmadinejad thanked him for his 'diligence and services' in a terse statement. He said he hoped Mr. Mottaki’s 'efforts receive praise by God and [that] you will be successful in the rest of your life,' according to the official IRNA news agency...

"The decision to remove Mottaki has long been rumored, especially since Ahmadinejad several months ago appointed a group of regional foreign policy envoys, in parallel – and in apparent competition with – the Foreign Ministry. Mottaki was reported to have offered to resign at the time."

The battle over control of foreign policy involving Mottaki has often been cast as one between the presidency and the leadership represented by Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i. Meir Javedanfer, however, portrays Khamene'i as being called into an existing dispute between Ahmadinejad and Mottaki, and indicates Khamene'i probably approved of Mottaki's ouster at this time. The latter point, at least, is probably true, as I don't see Ahmadinejad risking having a decision actually undone by the Leader or the official state media playing the dismissal the way they did.



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