Former top nuclear negotiator set to run for the presidency?

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Tasnim News has claimed that the candidacy of Hassan Rowhani in June’s presidential election has become “final.” Hassan Rowhani is a member of the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Discernment Council and a member of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). He was also formerly Iran’s top nuclear negotiator as head of the SNSC.

The conservative news outlet, Entekhab, also reported on the likelihood of Rowhani’s candidacy, saying, “this experienced political activist described as being in the Principalist circle, apart from attracting a large number of the Principalists, is also subject to serious support by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and the leaders of the Principalist Front”.

“He has a good image amongst foreign governments and most think [Rowhani] a very desirable and valuable choice for the Principalists, and even the Reformists.”

It should be noted that Rowhani has been especially vocal in recent weeks, not merely criticizing the Ahmadinejad government’s foreign policy, but also addressing domestic issues such as the high rate of youth unemployment in Iran’s cities.

In other news

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission  told Khane-ye mellat, the Majles’ news agency that, “the Agency’s [International Atomic Energy Agency] exit from the Western puzzle is a condition for negotiations yielding results with Iran.”

Boroujerdi added, “For the Agency to take a step forward in the negotiations with Tehran, it must base its reports on a legal rather than political principle… The IAEA must in its negotiations with the Islamic Republic save itself from the political pressures of America and the West so that it can undertake its obligation to support countries which are members of the Agency.”

Gholam Hossein Esmaili, the chief of the Organization of Prisons, in conversation with the Islamic Republic News Agency, has claimed that “we do not have any religious or doctrinal prisoners”.

“Someone who perpetrates a crime, regardless of doctrinal inclination, or tribal [affiliation], is treated accordingly and in fact no one in the country is imprisoned for the beliefs they have or adhering to a particular religion…With the occurrence of a crime and treatment of a criminal, the law does not recognize Shia, Sunni or Bahai.”

With Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as prime minister of Israel, the hard-line outlet Mashreq News reports on an article posted on Bloomberg by American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg [Mashreq doesn’t post the link to the original article], commenting on President Barack Obama’s strained relations with Netanyahu.

“It is reported that Barack Obama recently in a private conversation has said that Netanyahu doesn’t have the power to identify Israel’s interests and his actions will conclude in Israel’s severe international isolation.”

“According to Goldberg after the approval of Palestine’s observer-state status at the United Nations, Obama in a private gathering said, ‘Israel doesn’t know where its interests lie.’ He also said about Netanyahu’s decision to continue building settlements: Netanyahu is taking Israel in the direction of total isolation.”

“Obama believes if the small government of Israel in an unwelcoming region, loses its only friend and ally, America, it will be destroyed. Iran is a short-term threat for Israel, but the behaviour of the Israeli authorities threatens the government of Israel in the long term.”