Iran: Replacement of 60 ambassadors just "routine"

Iran intends to replace some 60 ambassadors this year, including those in London, Paris and Berlin, as part of what the Foreign Ministry called regular rotation, the official newspaper Iran reported on Monday. The daily quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Mostafavi as saying the replacements were a "normal procedure." He seemed anxious to quash speculation that the move was a purge of the foreign ministry under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Late last year, the administration of Ahmadinejad, which took office in August, had said it planned to change about 40 ambassadors. Mostafavi said there was nothing unusual about the appointment of new ambassadors to London, Paris and Berlin.