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Controversy Over Iran's New Ambassador To Moscow

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and Kazem Jalali (R). File photo

The spokesperson of Iran’s foreign ministry has denied reports Mohammad Javad Zarif is opposed to the appointment of a former member of parliament as ambassador to Moscow.

Recently, there have been reports saying Kazem Jalali, a politician close to the Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani will be appointed as ambassador. Other reports said that Zarif is opposed to taking this step, despite requests from Larijani.

On Wednesday, the foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi called these reports “false” and “fake news” insisting that Zarif and Mr. Jalali have even discussed the date of his travel to Moscow.

Some Iranian media outlets have said that Jalali has no chance of getting reelected after serving five consecutive terms in the parliament and has decided to obtain a post abroad.

This decision has even led to speculations that Larijani himself might not run for parliament next February and is helping his allies get ambassadorships.

Khabar Online website has criticized Jalali’s appointment, saying that Moscow is one of the most important diplomatic posts and a person with no prior experience in diplomatic service should not be appointed ambassador.

Jalali will replace Mehdi Sanaei, who is the son-in-law of former intelligence minister Ali Younesi. Sanaei’s daughter committed suicide in Moscow in October.

Sanaei was also a former parliament member, but he had some diplomatic experience and was fluent in Russian when he was appointed ambassador.