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Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 09:23 UK

Iran nuclear envoy made speaker

Ali Larijani
Mr Larijani's position on nuclear issues has put him at odds with the president

Iran's new parliament has elected former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani as its speaker.

He resigned as Iran's nuclear envoy in 2007, citing policy differences with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr Larijani belongs to a group of Iranian MPs who have been critical of Mr Ahmadinejad's handling of the Iranian economy.

A BBC correspondent in Tehran says the position in effect makes Mr Larijani the leader of the opposition.

Moments after his election, Mr Larijani told parliament that a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency which expressed grave concern about Iran's nuclear programme was "deplorable".

"Should this behaviour continue, the parliament... will set new limits on co-operation with the IAEA," Mr Larijani said.

The speech drew drawing chants of "God is great" and "Death to America" from the conservative-dominated chamber.

Iran's new parliament convened for the first time on Tuesday after elections in April.

Mr Larijani won 232 votes out of a total of 263 cast in parliament for the position of speaker, Iranian news agencies reported.

Western countries suspect Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons but Tehran says its programme is peaceful.


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