Iran's envoy to UN nuclear agency expected to leave post: sources

VIENNA Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:31am EDT

Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh sorts documents before an IAEA meeting in Vienna June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh sorts documents before an IAEA meeting in Vienna June 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran's veteran envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, is expected to leave his post soon but there is no word yet on who will replace him, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

If confirmed, it would come less than a week after the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, appointed a pragmatist to head Iran's atomic energy organization.

Rouhani has pledged to improve Iran's ties with the outside world and ease stringent international sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

There was no immediate comment from Iran's mission to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA is investigating allegations that Iran has carried out research relevant for the development of nuclear weapons, a charge the country denies. Western diplomats have accused Iran of stonewalling the IAEA's investigation.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alison Williams)

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