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Ahmadinejad fires his foreign minister

The New York Times reports that Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad has fired his top diplomat Manouchehr Mottaki.  The move was entirely unexpected.  Mottaki had previously backed an Ahmadinejad rival for president, and was given his position by Ahmadinejad at the behest of Ayatollah Khamenei.  As for why the firing happened, the article offers that

Other experts said the move signaled the rising prominence of nuclear matters in Iran’s foreign policy. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s choice for acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, is the head of Iran’s nuclear program and has served as ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mr. Salehi, who is fluent in English, has a doctorate from M.I.T.

and

The firing of Mr. Mottaki could also be related to the recent release of United States diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, which made clear that many of Iran’s Arab neighbors remain deeply hostile to it. “Clearly, Iranian foreign policy has failed here and someone needed to pay the price for it,” said Trita Parsi, an Iran expert and founder of the National Iranian American Council in Washington.

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