Sadjadpour: FM Firing ‘little substantive impact’

Our IPS colleague Omid Memarian has a piece up at the wire explaining Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s sudden Monday firing of his foreign minister, Manoucher Mottaki.

Memarian’s piece draws on Iranian sources to describe the political context of, and gauge reactions to, Mottaki’s firing and his interim replacement by Ali Akbar Salehi, until now the head of Iran’s nuclear agency.

Down at the end, Memarian speaks to the Carnegie Endowment’s Karim Sadjadpour, who says the move is unlikely to affect Iran’s ongoing diplomacy with the West:

Analysts believe Ahmadinejad’s surprise move is very unlikely to affect the negotiations, as Mottaki had little say in the country’s major foreign policy positions over the past five years.

“Mottaki’s firing will have little substantive impact on Iranian foreign policy,” Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, told IPS. “The Iranian foreign minister doesn’t formulate policy. It’s the equivalent of the State Department spokesperson being replaced.”

“Salehi is much smarter and smoother than Mottaki and may prove more effective at creating divisions in the international community,” Sadjadpour added. “The Iranian foreign minister’s job these days is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. It’s ugly no matter how you try and sell it.”

I covered some other reactions yesterday — mostly speculative at this point, and unlikely to become any more certain before the upcoming round of negotiations in Istanbul next month.

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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.