Jeffrey LewisRowhani: In or Out?

A little tempest has erupted after the IRNA reported that Hasan Rowhani had resigned as Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) on 6 July 2005.

In this capacity, Rowhani is Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator. Rowhani’s resignation might signal a much tougher Iranian stand in negotiations with the EU over Iran’s nuclear activities.

I guess the rumor had been floating around for a few days: IRNA, the Iranian Students News Agency, and the Iranian Labor News Agency all printed denials on 3 July 2005, with the latter quoting the secretary of the publicity and information dissemination committee of the Supreme National Security Council as having “pointed out that the rumour had been started by a Majlis deputy to whom the post of oil minister had been proposed.”

AP printed a denial of the 6 July 2005 IRNA story by SNSC spokesman Ali Aghamohammadi:

Council spokesman Ali Aghamohammadi told The Associated Press the IRNA report was “false.”

“Rowhani will remain in his position until President Mohammad Khatami’s term ends. After that it is up to Ahmadinejad, who has not announced any stance on Rowhani,” Aghamohammadi said. “Some people are implying that Rowhani does not want to cooperate with Ahmadinejad’s administration, but that is completely wrong.”

An Iranian newspaper, Farhang-e Ashti, reported that failed conservative Presidential candidate Ali Larijani “is likely to replace Rowhani as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.”

Larijani had some very tough things to say about EU-Iran negotiations.

(Laura Rozen blogged the stories before I did …)

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A little news of the weird for you.

The Iranian Students News Agency (via AFP) carried this absurd hypothesis about the inner workings of US-Iran, um, relations:

“The reason that the US secretary of state attacks Iran is because she had her heart broken by a young man from Qazvin while they were students,” a confident Shokrollah Attarzadeh was quoted by the ISNA agency as saying.

Somewhat mysteriously, he added: “This is the result of an investigation by a woman MP, who cannot be named.”

On the other hand, Attarzadeh speculated IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei went easy on Iran on account of his Iranian wife.

ElBaradei is married to Aida Elkachef, who teaches Kindergarten at the Vienna International School. She is not Iranian, according the the IAEA.

Update: Ah-ha. Apparently the joke was lost in translation. “The western press missed the point,” Hooman Majd writes, “but in Iran the old joke is that men from Qazvin prefer other men when it comes to sex.”

Wow, sexism and homophobia. Attarzadeh fell just a racist remark short of the bigot trifecta. Asshole.

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