Iranian Revolutionary Guard members are expected to receive far fewer cabinet assignments from President Hassan Rouhani than they held under his predecessor, a development with possible implications for a global dispute over Iran's atomic activities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The military branch has apparently had a hand in preparing nuclear arms blueprints, and it also appears to have been instrumental in selling Iran's atomic efforts to the nation's leaders, according to U.S. and U.N. insiders. Tehran has long insisted its atomic ambitions are peaceful in nature.
Iran watchers and Western government sources guess that Rouhani will nominate only three current or former Revolutionary Guard figures for cabinet positions. They held roughly 50 percent of the 18 top-level spots under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the prior president.
Iranian news organizations, though, have floated former Revolutionary Guard member Hossein Dehghan as a probable pick for Tehran's new lead envoy to atomic talks with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. The discussions have unfolded over a number of years and done little so far to clear up worries that Iran is pursuing a nuclear arms capability.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said Iran is "using 7,000 new centrifuges, including 1,000 which are of a newer type," Agence France-Presse reported.