Iran's new President Ebrahim Raeisi has appointed a minister responsible for roads and urbanization in the previous government as the new head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Mohammad Eslami was appointed on Sunday to lead the AEOI amid ongoing international efforts to revive the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that has almost unraveled some three years after the US withdrew from the agreement.
Eslami served for three years as Minister of Road and Urban Development under former President Hassan Rouhani. He has experiences as deputy defense minister and governor of the northern province of Mazandaran.
One of his key roles was to serve for several years as chairman of HESA, Iran’s state-run aircraft manufacturing company based in the central province of Isfahan from where Eslami hails.
His academic profile includes degrees in civil engineering from Detroit University of Michigan and the University of Toledo, Ohio, in the United States and post graduate degrees in the same field from Iranian universities.
Eslami replaces Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT graduate who led the AEOI for four years and was a key figure in talks that led to the signing of the JCPOA six years ago.
The new AEOI chief is the only member from Rouhani’s administration who will continue to serve in the Iranian Cabinet under Raeisi.
Reports suggested Eslami’s appointment is a sign that Raeisi’s government is intent on implementing plans to diversify and expand the nuclear power sector in Iran despite objections raised by Western powers.
That comes amid growing demand for electricity in Iran which even caused shortages across the country this summer.