TEHRAN - Top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has made three key changes at the Iranian National Security Council, replacing figures seen as close to his predecessor Ali Larijani, media reported yesterday.
Jalili, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was named secretary of the council in October when Larijani resigned after falling out with the president.
According to a decree issued by Jalili, Mehdi Bokhraie, who has headed think-tanks at the army and the elite Revolutionary Guards, replaced Ali Monfared as the council's foreign policy head, Iranian media reported.
Ahmad Khaledi, a former deputy commerce minister, was named director in charge of economic policy in place of Mohammad Nahavandian.
Jalili also appointed the former director of the official IRNA news agency, Ahmad Khadem-ol Meleh, as the official for communications, replacing Abdol Reza Rahmani Fazli. Analysts expected Jalili to take a harder line in talks on the nuclear standoff after replacing the conservative but more pragmatic Larijani, and he has since refused to make any concessions to the West.
Jalili's is now top negotiator in talks with all parties on the nuclear crisis. - Sapa-AFP