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Iranian Parliament approves nuclear chief as new FM

TEHRAN, Jan. 30 — Iranian Majlis (Parliament) on Sunday approved Ali-Akbar Salehi as new foreign minister.

The Majlis gave the vote of confidence to Salehi after the ex-foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki was dismissed in December by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Out of 241 MPs who cast their votes, 146 voted in favor, 60 against, and 35 abstained.

In a speech given before the voting session, Salehi said that his slogan to win the position of foreign minister was the "diplomacy for change and foreign relations based on justice," according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

He said that Iran's nuclear issue would be one of the subjects of his foreign policy and his nine years of close experience with the country's nuclear case could be useful in this regard.

Salehi referred to the "unity among Muslim communities" as his priority and said that it was an "objective necessity".

On January 23, Ahmadinejad nominated Salehi as Iran's foreign minister by recommending him to the Majlis.

Born in 1949, he has been honored with a BSc from the American University of Beirut. He received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.

He was appointed as Permanent Representative of Iran to International Atomic Energy Agency by the reformist President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and was in post until 2005 for more than eight years.

On 16 July 2009, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Salehi as the new head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, replacing Gholam Reza Aghazadeh.

Salehi is currently the Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and also Iran's vice president. (PNA/Xinhua) scs/rsm

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