Iran Appoints Former Nuclear Negotiator as New UN Ambassador

Majid Takht Ravanchi, current Iranian deputy foreign minister for EU and U.S. affairs, was one of the negotiators who helped Tehran reach the nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rohani listens to the head of Iran's nuclear technology organisation during the 'nuclear technology day' in Tehran.

Iran has appointed career diplomat and former nuclear negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi as its envoy to the United Nations, state media said, as it tries to salvage a nuclear deal with world powers despite Washington’s unilateral withdrawal.

Takht Ravanchi, 61, is currently Iranian deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs. He has also served as ambassador to Switzerland.

His move to the United Nations is significant since he was one of the negotiators who helped Tehran reach a nuclear agreement in 2015 with the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

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The pact curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. However, U.S. President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of the deal, which was concluded before he took office, saying it favored Iran.

Other co-signatories are still trying to salvage the deal and shield Iran from U.S. sanctions. President Hassan Rohani, who could be weakened by damage to Iran’s economy if the deal falls apart, warned other signatories on Tuesday to honor their pledges before Tehran’s patience runs out.

On Monday, Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist organization in an unprecedented step that will raise tensions in the Middle East. Iran called the move “vicious” and vowed to retaliate. 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the United States’ designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, saying on Tuesday the Guards had confronted enemies at home and abroad, state TV reported.

“Our Sepah (the Guards) is in the frontline of confronting enemies of our (1979 Islamic) revolution and has always defended the country ... America has failed to block our advancements,” Khamenei told a group of members of the Guards.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander warned the U.S. Navy to keep its warships at a distance from Revolutionary Guards speed boats in Gulf waters, a day after the United States designated the Guards as a terrorist organization. 

"Mr. Trump, tell your warships not to pass near the Revolutionary Guards boats," ISNA news agency reported a tweet from Mohsen Rezaei as saying