Iran's ex-nuclear negotiator heading country's UN mission

American-educated Iranian diplomat who helped seal the landmark 2015 nuclear deal Majid Takht Ravanchi will represent Tehran at the United Nations, its most important foreign diplomatic posting.

The 60-year-old Takht Ravanchi, who was recently appointed as Iran’s ambassador to the UN, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday. 

Proposed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed the career diplomat as the country’s ambassador and permanent representative to the international organization. 

Through this appointment, Takht Ravanchi returns to the post that he had held during the 90s. 'Ravanchi previously served at the United Nations in New York from 1992 to 1998 with the rank of Ambassador, holding the positions of Deputy Permanent Representative (1996-1998) and Counsellor (1989-1992),” according to the UN. 

The Iranian diplomat, who had served as Iran’s ambassador to Switzerland where he received his doctorate in political science from the University of Bern, also fills Iran’s seat that had been left vacant since five months ago when his predecesor Gholam Ali Khoshroo, also a former ambassador to Switzerland and close to Zarif, left New York under a recently-approved law that bars public officials over 60 from continuing in their posts. 

Khoshroo left the United Nations ambassador post last November after nearly four years.

Takht Ravanchi has held a number of posts, including deputy United Nations ambassador, deputy foreign minister and special assistant to the Foreign Minister Zarif. 

Ravanchi, who holds a Masters degree in international political economy and development from Fordham University in the United States, was one of the senior members of Iran’s negotiating team that helped seal the 2015 international agreement on the country’s nuclear programme. 

Right after the accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran, the US, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China in Switzerland in July 2015, the negotiating team was awarded the second class Order of Merit and Management for his role in the intensive talks. 

The US left the nuclear agreement last May and restored two rounds of economic sanctions on Iran. Washington is also trying to bring Iran oil sales to zero by not renewing the sanctions waivers to the eight countries who depend on the Iranian crude. 

Despite the US withdrawal, Iran has stuck to the agreement as confirmed in 12 consecutive reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK have said they will stay in the deal as long as Iran remains there. 

The three European signatories, also known as the E3, put in place in January a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to help trade of non-sanctioned goods with Iran. However, the mechanism hasn’t been functional yet. 

Before being nominated for the UN, Ravanchi served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs in the Office of the President beginning in 2017, that is, he was Rouhani’s political advisor. 

Ravanchi, who earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kansas, was appointed to the post a day after the Trump administration upped the ante against Iran by designating the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, official part of the Iranian armed forces, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

The Iranian government responded by designating the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization. 

News Code 190218

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