TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed hardline former top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili Thursday to Iran’s top security council for three years, state television reported.
Under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Jalili was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), tasked with dictating defence and security policies and for marshalling the country’s resources to confront domestic and foreign threats.
But on Tuesday, new President Hassan Rowhani replaced him with decorated admiral Ali Shamkhani, who served as defence minister under two reformist administrations.
Jalili then ceased to be a member of the council, but returns as a result of Khamenei’s decision.
Jalili ran unsuccessfully in the June 14 elections against Rowhani, who won a surprise victory.
He campaigned on the strength of having been Iran’s point-man in talks with the so-called P5 1 group of world powers over Tehran’s controversial nuclear ambitions since 2007, which have never achieved a breakthrough.
But his performance in the talks, and what was described as an inability to make concessions, were criticised during the presidential campaign.
The television also said Khamenei had chosen Shamkhani as his special representative to the council for the next three years, replacing Rowhani, who had been one of the supreme leader’s two representative since 1989.
Until now, the SNSC has been heavily involved in Iran’s nuclear talks, but its role is expected to be diminished after Rowhani tasked the foreign ministry last week with taking the lead on negotiations.
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