Ahmadinejad fires Mottaki, appoints Salehi as caretaker

December 13, 2010 16:01

TEHERAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired his foreign minister on Monday and named the nuclear chief to serve as the country's acting top diplomat.

In a brief statement on the president's website, Ahmadinejad thanked Manouchehr Mottaki for his more than five years of service but gave no explanation for the change.Over the past year, Iranian media have reported that lawmakers were pushing for Mottaki to be dismissed if more UN Security Council sanctions were imposed in response to the country's nuclear program. According to the reports, the lawmakers felt he was not a strong or persuasive enough advocate for Iran on the international stage.

Ahmadinejad named nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also the country's vice president, to serve as interim foreign minister until a permanent replacement is found.

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