Nuke Scientist Takes Himself Out of Contention to Be Iraqi Premier

U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi (search) said Wednesday that Iraqi nuclear scientist Hussain al-Shahristani (search) doesn't want a top job in Iraq's new interim government.

Al-Shahristani, a Shiite Muslim who was jailed under Saddam Hussein's (search) regime, was identified as a leading contender for prime minister.

Brahimi, who is in Baghdad helping Iraqis agree on an interim government that will take over June 30, said he met al-Shahristani and thinks highly of him, his spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said in a statement.

Brahimi "has no doubt that Mr. Shahristani could serve his country well in a number of positions in government," the statement said.

"Mr. Shahristani, however, has himself clarified that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways," it said, without elaborating.