Raisi appoints ex-minister as Iran’s new nuclear chief

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Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday appointed a minister from the administration of his predecessor Hassan Rouhani as the new head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), state media reported.

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Mohammad Eslami, who most recently served as minister of roads and urban development under former president Rouhani, will replace Ali Akbar Salehi as the new head of the AEOI.

Eslami, who holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from a US university, has no prior experience in the nuclear field. As the head of the AEOI, he will be in charge of operating Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran denies the charge that it seeks nuclear weapons and insists that its nuclear programme is peaceful.

The US and Iran have engaged in several rounds of indirect talks in Vienna since April to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Washington withdrew from the deal under former President Donald Trump in 2018, reimposing sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

The last round of talks took place on June 20, and the resumption of talks remains a question mark.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, said on Monday the Biden administration’s demands from Iran have been identical to the Trump administration’s, and as such Tehran sees no difference between the two.

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