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Iran's top nuclear negotiator resigns

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Iran's top nuclear negotiator resigns

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Iran may take a tougher stance over its atomic ambitions following the resignation of its chief nuclear negotiator, according to Western diplomats.

Ali Larijani will no longer front the country’s efforts to defuse a row with the West over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

He was set to meet the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, in Rome on Tuesday for more discussions.

Some EU officials say Larijani’s exit exposes a rift over tactics with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But an Iranian government spokesman denied this was the case, insisting instead that Larijani stepped down for “personal reasons and that there would be no changes in Iran’s policies or programmes.”

Nevertheless, many analysts expect Saeed Jalili, the man named as Larijani’s replacement, to adopt a tougher line.

They say as he is close to the president his appointment shows that those determined to defy the West are having greater influence on decision making.