Raisi 'to appoint IRGC ally' as Iran's foreign minister

Iran's new hardline president 'set to appoint' Revolutionary Guards ally as foreign minister
2 min read
09 August, 2021
Ebrahim Raisi is set to nominate former diplomat and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ally, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as Iran's next foreign minister.
Ebrahim Raisi appointed Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as Iran's next FM [Getty]

Iran's new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has nominated former diplomat and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ally Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as the country's next foreign minister, according to Iranian media.

Amir-Abdollahian was nominated by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs and became a trusted figure among hardliners and the IRGC in Iran, diplomatic sources told IranWire this week.

"Diplomatic sources have confirmed to IranWire that President Ebrahim Raisi has nominated [Amir-Abdollahian] to be the country's next foreign minister," the site claimed on Friday.

Asia Times also tipped the hardline politician to be appointed Iran's new foreign minister.

"Sources close to the new president and local media say [Amir-Abdollahian]... will be proposed as the nation's top diplomat," Asia Times wrote.

Amir-Abdollahian was dismissed by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in 2016 as Tehran prioritised diplomacy when it was seeking a nuclear deal with Washington under the presidency of Barack Obama. However, Amir-Abdollahian still served as a special advisor on international affairs to the speaker of the Iranian parliament.

Amir-Abdollahian is known to be close to the IRGC's Quds' Force and was often described as being a conduit between the elite division and the foreign ministry during his time under Ahmadinejad.

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He speaks English and Arabic and served as Iranian ambassador to Bahrain before Manama cut ties with Iran in 2016. Then-US Secretary of State John Kerry requested for Amir-Abdollahian's number during the nuclear agreements.

Under the negotiated deal, which was signed in July 2015, Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief. 

However, former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran which have crippled Iran's economy. Tehran has since breached limits imposed on its nuclear activities under the agreement.

Raisi was sworn in on Thursday and said that foreign pressure and sanctions will not stop Tehran from pursuing its "legal rights" to obtain nuclear power, as he was sworn in during a televised ceremony.

"The policy of pressure and sanctions will not cause the nation of Iran to back down from following up on its legal rights," the ultraconservative said.

Raisi, who is under US sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses when he was a judge, has promised to take steps to lift tough US sanctions that have cut Iran's oil exports and have shut it out of the international banking system.

Editor's note: This article has been edited to add sourcing to the claims that Amir-Abdollahian has been nominated as FM.