Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has called on parliament to accept his candidate — atomic agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi — to be the country’s new foreign minister. State television reported that “in a letter sent to parliament,” Ahmadinejad announced Salehi, who has been the caretaker of the Foreign Ministry since Ahmadinejad dismissed Manuchehr Mottaki from the post in December, was the Iranian president’s candidate for the country’s top diplomat. Salehi was appointed head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization in 2009 and also served as Iran’s representative to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency when Mohammad Khatami was president. Iran’s nuclear development program has become the country’s No. 1 foreign-policy issue, with countries in the West accusing Tehran of using the stated quest for civilian nuclear power as a cover for a nuclear weapons program, a charge the Iranian government has vehemently denied.