|Salehi appointed AEOI director||
TEHRAN – In a decree issued on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rohani appointed former foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
Salehi, 64, had served as AEOI director from 2009 to 2010. He was also the Iranian representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2005.
He received a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.
“I hope that, with the help of God, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will follow the path which has been taken to date and that we will be able to continue the measures taken by previous directors and add to the achievements of the organization,” Salehi, who takes the place of Fereydoun Abbasi, said in an interview with the Fars News Agency on Thursday after his appointment as AEOI director.
He also said that the organization’s main task would be to build nuclear power plants to generate electricity and research reactors to produce radioisotopes.
Radioisotope is a radioactive isotope which is used in physical and biological researches and therapeutics.
The radioisotopes which are produced in Iran are mainly used for diagnosis and treatment of various cancers or are used to alleviate cancer-related pains.
In addition, Salehi said, “The activities of the organization are completely peaceful and meant to serve the interests of the Iranian nation.”
In an article published on Friday, Reuters commented that the appointment was a further signal that Rohani intended to pursue a more flexible approach to Iran’s nuclear dispute with the West than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The AEOI director is not directly involved in nuclear negotiations with world powers, but is in charge of operating Iran’s nuclear facilities.
He also represents Tehran at the annual member state gatherings of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna each September.
“It was another wise appointment. Salehi was the best of Ahmadinejad’s ministers, a pragmatist who understands how the world works. It made sense to keep him on in some capacity,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the non-proliferation and disarmament program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, according to Reuters.
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