Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Majlis Speaker Warns IAEA

Ali Larijani, Iran’s new Majlis Speaker
Tehran . 28 May 2008 . AFP photo

Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was sworn in today as the country’s new Majlis speaker. In his acceptance speech, he warned that Iran could set limit on future cooperation with IAEA, the UN nuclear agency. Larijani called IAEA’s latest report on Iran “deplorable.”

IAEA’s unusually blunt report released on Monday had raised serious concerns that Iran was withholding information on its alleged studies and research into the development of nuclear weapons, saying Iran continued to owe the agency “substantial explanations.”

As the new speaker, Larijani is expected to be more vocal than his predecessor on major foreign policy issues facing Iran. His diplomatic acumen during his two-and-half year tenure as the country’s chief nuclear negotiator gives him high credential to influence Iran’s nuclear policy.

The Majlis speaker in Iran is a powerful position. On internal politics, Larijani is expected to questions some of the policies of the current administration, especially regarding the economy. Larijani is widely expected to challenge Ahmadinejad in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for May 2009. Although a fellow conservative, Larijani is seen as more of a pragmatic than Ahmadinejad.

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