Iran's Washington-host-with-the-most since 1973 yesterday denied an Iran Times report that he will go home this summer to become foreign minister.
Calling the report "incorrect," Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi said he will continue in his role here "until the end of the year." After that, he said, "God knows."
The Iran Times, a privately owned Washington-based weekly newspaper with a reported circulation of 50,000, said Zahedi would switch positions with the present foreign minister, Abbas Ali Khalatbari, who would come here as ambassador.
Zahedi said the matter was never discussed when Prime Minister Jamshid Amouzegar visited here recently. Amouzegar, regarded in some circles at home as ineffectual and in trouble politically, was rumored recently to have submitted his resignation, which was, however, refused by the shah.
Political observers in Iran say Zahedi has long been thought to have ambitions to become prime minister and that any cabinet shuffle might find him a prime candidate. Iran Times publisher Javad Khakbaz, however, said Zahedi's strength is in foreign affairs, not domestic matters.
If Khalatbari does succeed Zahedi as ambassador, it won't be the first time he has followed the 50-year-old envoy's footsteps. When he became foreign minister in 1971, it was also as successor to Zahedi, who left the cabinet in a dispute with the then-prime minister.