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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Puzzle over Iran nuclear official
Hassan Rohani
Rohani is the public face of Iran's atomic programme
The position of Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani is uncertain after officials denied an official news agency report that he had resigned.

Citing an "informed source", Irna said Mr Rohani had sent a resignation letter to President Mohammad Khatami.

But officials from the Supreme National Security Council which Mr Rohani leads are quoted saying the report is false.

Mr Rohani has led the Islamic state's often combative discussions with the European Union since October 2003.

"It's a sheer lie. He has not resigned. Resigning at this time would be meaningless," SNSC spokesman Ali Agha Mohammadi is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The confusion comes nearly two weeks after the election in Iran of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Correspondents say there has been intense speculation in recent days about the future of Mr Rohani, who is believed to share the reformist agenda of the outgoing president.

Unconfirmed reports in Iran say the new cabinet, which is expected to be announced soon, excludes all former ministers in the previous administration.

Mr Ahmadinejad has said his government will continue Iran's nuclear programme - which the country says is purely peaceful and is needed to meet its energy needs.

The US has accused Iran of using its atomic energy programme as a front to develop nuclear weapons.




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