Tehran, Iran, Sep. 11 – As
the newly-installed government of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad continues its complete overhaul of Iran’s bureaucratic
juggernaut, a radical hard-liner has been named as the new chairman of the
powerful foreign policy directorate of the Supreme National Security
In his new position, Seyyed Ali Monfared will be the chief negotiator in Iran’s nuclear
talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Western governments. He
will replace Hossein Moussavian,
a former ambassador to Germany.
The Supreme National Security Council is Iran’s highest
decision-making body on security-related issues.
Monfared is a founding father of Iran’s notorious
secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and was a senior
officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
His appointment comes at a delicate time, when talks between Tehran and the
European trio of Britain, France, and Germany, have stalled
after Iran’s unilateral
decision to end the suspension of its uranium conversion and enrichment
activities. Western governments are pushing for the referral of Iran’s case to the
United Nations Security Council.
Monfared was in charge of strategic foreign
policy planning during the administration of Mohammad Khatami,
but was dismissed at the end of Khatami’s first
term over policy differences. He has also been a staff member of the State
Expediency Council, a body which mediates between parliament and the
Monfared is not the only former Revolutionary
Guards officer to enter Iran’s nuclear
team; his new boss, Ali Larijani, was recently
installed as the secretary general of the Supreme National Security
Council. Larijani, a former general of the
Revolutionary Guards, is a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The Revolutionary Guards’ allies now dominate all key positions in the
SNSC, making sure that the hard-line policies of the Supreme Leader will be
On Sunday, Iran’s new Foreign
Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
vowed that the Islamic Republic would not suspend all of its nuclear fuel
cycle, in particular its uranium conversion activity in Isfahan, central Iran.