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Rouhani Could Retake Reins in Nuclear Talks

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani might assume more direct control than his predecessor over nuclear negotiations, placing the one-time envoy again at the center of an international standoff on Iran's atomic activities, an insider with ties to the incoming leader said in comments quoted by al-Monitor on Tuesday.

Years of multilateral discussions have failed to assuage Western fears that Iran's ostensibly peaceful atomic program is serving as cover for pursuit of a nuclear-weapon capability. No solution to the dispute has emerged from numerous meetings between the Middle Eastern nation and six negotiating countries: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Rouhani -- scheduled to take office on Aug. 3 -- has tasked staffers with crafting a blueprint addressing "current problems" over 100 days, the Iranian magazine Aseman Weekly reported. One proposal would "transfer Iran’s nuclear file from the Supreme National Security Council to the president’s office.”

The national security body has been headed by Saeed Jalili, who is now the country's top nuclear negotiator. Rouhani held that role into 2005.

Iran could re-enter atomic discussions immediately after Rouhani names delegates, the Associated Press quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying on Wednesday.

The incoming leader has received calls to “pick representatives now and send them to France and Germany,” according to the Iranian news report. The story suggests he wants "to increase the level of expertise and representation of negotiations with the heads of five European countries and to participate directly in those meetings himself.”

Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei has final say on all national policy decisions.

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