Monday, December 13, 2010

Iranian Regime Fires Foreign Minister While Minister Was Visiting Senegal

If the Iranian regime, led by the mad mullahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wanted to send messages to both the Iranian people and observers, they did so loud and clear today. The regime fired Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who had been the foreign minister since 2005.

Ahmadinejad doesn't rule alone, despite his title of President. He requires the consent and approval of the mullahs, which is led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei had blocked Ahmadinejad's attempts to dump Mottaki for several years, but apparently Ahmadinejad managed to get his way.
It has been well known that the Iranian leader had long sought to replace Mr. Mottaki but had been prevented from doing so until now by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in appointing the heads of several key ministries.

The move was a victory for the president and an apparent extension of his powers, though it remained unclear what changes at the upper echelon of Iranian politics allowed for the firing.

President Ahmadinejad appointed Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, as the country’s acting foreign minister until a permanent replacement is found.

In a separate letter issued on Monday, Mr. Ahmadinejad expressed gratitude to Mr. Mottaki for his services during his five-year tenure. "Hereby, I thank you for your services as efforts during your tenure in the Foreign Ministry," read the letter.
Consider this a further consolidation of power in Ahmadinejad and his minions and a further reduction in the power of the mullahs to control the domestic and foreign policy agendas.

Expect Iran to continue taking a still more confrontational stance on its nuclear ambitions as Iran's nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, will take over as interim foreign minister. Expect him to try and communicate Iran's nuclear ambitions within a clearly delineated civilian spin, even as Iran remains as bellicose as ever and Iran's rivals remain wary of Iran's intentions. Indeed, this could be a change in marketing tact about Iran's nuclear ambitions but will not change Iran's intentions to develop not only the enrichment capabilities, but nuclear weapons to go along with it.

On that front, it appears that the Stuxnet worm has done more to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions than years of diplomacy and cajoling.

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