Former member of the Iranian Parliament Kazem Jalali has been appointed as Iran’s new ambassador to Russia, replacing Mehdi Sanaei.
This comes amid growing concerns towards the future of the Iran nuclear deal.
In an open session on Sunday, Iranian lawmakers accepted Jalali’s resignation with 146 yes votes and 58 no votes. Nine lawmakers also abstained from voting.
The parliamentary vote came a week after extensive consultations held between Jalali and the Russian ambassador in Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan at the Iranian parliament. Before presenting his resignation, Jalali used to represent ultra-conservatives and was part of a bloc close to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Jalali has served as a lawmaker for five four-year terms. He was the chair of the Iran-Russia parliamentary friendship group in the seventh Parliament and the head of Iran-EU parliamentary friendship group in the eighth, ninth, and tenth terms. He also served as the head of the Parliament Research Centre from 2012 to 2019.
Former ambassador Sanaei had taken the post in 2013 at the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani’s first term in office.
The appointment of a conservative deputy to the post of Iranian ambassador is important in Tehran and is considered a win-win for those seeking closer ties with Russia instead of rapprochement with European countries.