Salehi, Epitome of Iran’s Uranium (& Plutonium) Diplomacy


Update from October 25th: It seems that Salehi’s investments are paying off in Ghana as well – Iran is ready to “share its experience in mineral exploration” with Ghana. It’s worthy to note that the article by pressTV mentions gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese but fails to mention uranium that Ghana has been mining uranium since 2010.

Hear the one about the nuclear expert who moves seamlessly between his country’s diplomatic corps and atomic energy community?

It’s not a joke. We’re talking about Iran’s Ali Akbar Salehi, recently appointed by President Hassan Rouhani to head the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) for the second time after previously serving as its head until 2010, when he became foreign minister.

Salehi’s personal biography provides an insightful look into the connection between Iran’s nuclear program and the diplomacy that helps advance it. He was appointed by President Khatami as his country’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) back in 1997, and was still there when Rouhani headed the crucial nuclear negotiations in 2003-2005.

Not unlike Javad Zarif, his successor as foreign minister, Salehi is considered a pleasant individual but hawkish on nuclear policy –- as evidenced by his 2005 resignation in protest over Tehran’s decision to sign the Additional Protocol (which it never ratified). This, apparently, is the secret to his resilience – how he’s managed to survive Khatami, Ahmadinejad and now Rouhani as presidents while remaining at the top of the regime’s nuclear hierarchy.

Indeed, his value to Iran’s nuclear program went beyond this during his stint as foreign minister – when he not only defended the hardheaded approach of Saeed Jalili, but also played an active role in placing Iranian diplomacy at the disposal of his country’s strategic goals.

A believer in leading by example, Salehi served as a role model to his own diplomatic corps by working hard to close a deal with Zimbabwe to secure uranium deposits.

Salehi’s been in the nuclear business for a very long time. Judging by his record thus far, he will probably continue to move comfortably between the atomic and the diplomatic. Never mind the EU sanctions against him.


One thought on “Salehi, Epitome of Iran’s Uranium (& Plutonium) Diplomacy

  1. Pingback: With friends like these – Iranian Diplomacy in the Middle East (part 2) | Shadow Diplomacy

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