New Iranian Nuclear Negotiator Might Signal Major Policy Shift

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_004018e7a9.jpgIIPA via Getty Images (TEHRAN, Iran) -- A reported pragmatist will be heading Iran's nuclear negotiations when they finally resume with the U.S. and its allies. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Thursday that Mohammad Javad Zarif will lead the talks for his country, which were previously handled by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.


Now, the Foreign Ministry assumes this responsibility. Zarif, who was educated in the U.S., takes over for Saeed Jalili, whose thinking was more in line with Iran's ultraconservative theocratic rulers. The switch could mean Iran will take a more moderate stance as the five United Nations Security Council members plus Germany try to convince Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, a key step to developing atomic weapons.  Iran has long stated its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Up to now, Iran has refused to alter its program, leading to tough economic and political sanctions by the international community that have devastated its economy.

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