Zarif reshuffles key envoys in push for active diplomacy

Al Monitor | : While rotations and replacements of diplomats and ambassadors are usually routine administrative procedures, they sometimes can signify important policy shifts. The latter may be the case in Iran, where the country’s Foreign Ministry has in the past four months been replacing several heads of mission and representatives abroad.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have in particular made the appointment of Iranian representatives to the UN in New York a complicated process. The position is particularly important given that Iran has no active embassy in the United States. As such, powerful rival elites in Iran are often at odds over who ought to be appointed to this key post.

Late last year, veteran diplomat Gholam-Ali Khoshroo returned to Tehran to officially retire after his tenure as the Islamic Republic’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York came to an end. His deputy Es’haq Al-e-Habib has been heading Iran’s UN Mission as a charge d’affaires since. Now, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has named former deputy Majid Takht-Ravanchi as Iran’s new man in New York.

In his most recent post, the 61-year-old Takht-Ravanchi worked as a political deputy to President Hassan Rouhani. Prior to the administrative overhaul at the Foreign Ministry in early 2018, Takht-Ravanchi served as deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs. In that capacity, he was also a senior negotiator in the nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers that culminated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.

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