Iran’s Nuclear Negotiator, Ali Bagheri, Appointed Acting Foreign Minister


Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri was appointed Monday as acting foreign minister, a government spokesman said, after the death of Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash


The appointment of Bagheri, who served as deputy foreign minister under Amir-Abdollahian, was announced by government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi on state television.


Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate authority in Iran, declared five days of mourning and assigned vice president Mohammad Mokhber, 68, to assume interim duties ahead of elections within 50 days.


President Ebrahim Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were confirmed dead on Monday after search and rescue teams found his crashed helicopter in a fog-shrouded western mountain region, sparking mourning in the Islamic Republic.


Amir-Abdollahian was known for his fierce anti-Israel sentiment and scepticism of the West.


A career diplomat and conservative figure with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards, Amir-Abdollahian took office following Raisi’s 2021 election win.


State media at the time hailed his support for “the Axis of Resistance” of Tehran-aligned armed groups across the Middle East arrayed against arch-foe Israel.


Amir-Abdollahian’s tenure as Iran’s top diplomat was marked by intense diplomatic efforts aiming to end Iran’s isolation and offset the impact of crippling US sanctions over Iran’s contested nuclear programme.


He particularly sought to forge relations with the Islamic republic’s Arab neighbours including the region’s Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia.


In a landmark Chinese-brokered deal, Tehran and Riyadh agreed in March 2023 to restore ties and reopen their respective embassies after a long rift.


Amir-Abdollahian was born in the city of Damghan, east of Tehran, in 1964. He was married and had two children.


He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Tehran in 1991, later completing a master’s degree and a doctorate in the same field.


As a diplomat in the Iranian foreign service, his postings included Iraq, from 1997 to 2001, and Bahrain, from 2007 to 2010.


Under former populist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Amir-Abdollahian served as deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs.


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