On Tuesday December 15th, Dr Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of planning for the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran (AEOI) and a member of Iran's nuclear negotiation team for the past five years resigned.
Saeedi is the second senior member of AEOI who has resigned since the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June this year. The first was Mohammad Reza Aghazadeh, who was the head of the organization.
Although no official explanation has been provided, it is quite possible that Saeedi's resignation could be related to the infighting currently taking place within the Iranian regime.
After Ahmadinejad's reelection, Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei started a purge in the Iranian government. Many of those who were reformists or moderate conservatives were pushed out.
For those who survived the cull, Iran's refusal to accept President Obama's recent offer, and the impending sanctions and isolation which it will bring, could be a huge disappointment. This is especially true for Iran's nuclear negotiating team.
Dr Saeedi would have seen how, for years, Ali Larijani, Iran's senior nuclear negotiator masterfully delayed major sanctions for Iran by negotiating with the EU and Javier Solana.
Since Larijani's resignation in 2007, Iran's position has significantly worsened. His replacement, Saeed Jalili is far less capable in terms of diplomatic skills. Furthermore, Supreme Leader Khamenei does not want to make any compromises. If anything, Iran is now far more provocative than before. See Ahmadinejad's announcement that his government plans to build 10 new enrichment facilities, in complete defiance of UN resolutions.
Under these circumstances, Iran's nuclear negotiation team has become all but redundant. Dr Saeedi would be forgiven for thinking his job is done.