Iran’s Former Nuclear Negotiator Reportedly Tapped as New FM

Conservative Ali Bagheri Kani had been liaison to Ministry since election

Reports are that Iran’s Raisi government has nearly settled on a new foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, best known as the main Iranian nuclear negotiator during the Ahmadinejad government.

International media and Iran’s more reformist outlets are portraying Bagheri Kani as an “opponent” of the 2015 nuclear deal. It’s not clear that’s entirely fair, however, and seems to be based purely on Saeed Jalili, another Ahmadinejad-era negotiator, being critical of the 2015 deal as making too many concessions. Bagheri Kani was the campaign manager for Jalili’s failed 2013 presidential campaign, and their positions are being conflated in some reports.

Bagheri Kani, however, has been a career diplomat in Iran, and has served in a lot of positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in the Supreme National Security Council as a top foreign policy official.

Since the election of President Raisi, Bagheri Kani has served as the administration’s liaison with the ministry for the transition. Since he’s served often in that ministry, he made sense as a liaison, and as a potential minister. Though his new post hasn’t been officially confirmed, he seems to have been the front-runner for awhile.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.