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Iran: Larijani to go to Rome nuclear talks
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Iran on Sunday confirmed it's former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani would attend Tuesday's talks with EU foreign policy chief in Rome, the state media reported.


"Larijani, due to the emphasis of the supreme leader and president, will join Saeed Jalili (Larijani's successor) to attend the talks with Solana," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini was quoted as saying at his weekly press conference.


"The appointment of Jalili as the new chief of the Supreme National Security Council has been finalized," he said, adding "the country's nuclear policy, approaches and objectives will not be changed."


Iran's government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said on Saturday that Larijani had resigned his post as the country's chief nuclear negotiator because he wanted to focus on "other political activities."


Elham also disclosed Jalii, a little known vice foreign minister for European and American affairs, would take Larijani's place.


Some Western and local analysts believed Larijani quit due to his different opinions with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on how to deal with the West over Tehran's nuclear interests.


According to their point of view, Larijani was more committed to a diplomatic solution over the disputed nuclear program while Ahmadinejad did not favor talks with the West very much.


Larijani was appointed as the chief of Iran's Supreme National Security Council in August, 2005, following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took his office.


He was believed to be close to Iran's supreme leader, AyatollahAli Khamenei, and considered as an uncompromising official on negotiations with the West over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.


Iran has been under the accusations from the United States and other Western nations, which believed that Tehran is developing a nuclear weapon program under the guise of a civilian-use program.


Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and voiced hope for talks to defuse the nuclear standoff.


(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2007)

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