Who Was Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian?

Hossein Amir Abdollahian was picked to be Iran’s foreign minister in 2021 by the president, Ebrahim Raisi, during a volatile time for Iran’s regional ties and for its relationship with the West.

Mr. Amir Abdollahian was a career diplomat and, like Mr. Raisi, a hard-liner. The two men died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of northwestern Iran. Considered closely aligned with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mr. Amir Abdollahian was also believed to have had a close relationship with Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the powerful leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, whom the U.S. killed in a drone strike in 2020.

Born in 1964, Mr. Amir Abdollahian held a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Tehran, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He was fluent in Arabic and his diplomatic experience focused on Iran’s relationships in the Middle East. He spent five years as deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs from 2011 to 2016 and three years as Iran’s ambassador to Bahrain from 2007 to 2010.

His tenure as foreign minister was starkly different to that of his predecessor, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the moderate, American-educated diplomat who helped broker the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers including the United States. Mr. Zarif made that deal in close collaboration with John F. Kerry, who served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, and he was later heard on a leaked audiotape discussing a rivalry with General Suleimani.

After he was confirmed as foreign minister in 2021, Mr. Amir Abdollahian emphasized that Iran’s relationships with its neighbors would be a top priority, and he quickly took a tougher stance against the United States in talks about reviving the nuclear deal, which former President Donald J. Trump had abandoned.

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