Iran's Rouhani rejects resignation of foreign minister Zarif

April FrancisFeb 28, 2019

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency says President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The resignation coincided with a visit from Syria's President Bashar Al Assad to Tehran, where he met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as Rouhani.

Zarif, acting on Rouhani's instructions, negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal that saw sanctions on Iran lifted in return from it dismantling the weapons-capable aspects of its nuclear development program.

"Since you are "honest, brave, courageous and pious",..."

Pressure has also mounted on Zarif since President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reinstalled sanctions, the BBC reports.

Assad, who has relied heavily on Iranian military and financial support during his country's almost eight-year civil war, met with both Khamenei and Rouhani on his rare foreign visit, but Zarif was not present at either meeting. Zarif could stop going to work at the Foreign Ministry, forcing Rouhani's hand, but there's no precedent for that in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Resistance from hardliners against new anti-money laundering legislation hampered his efforts to secure a mechanism from the European Union to allow continued trade and investment skirting the unilateral U.S. measures.

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In his Instagram post, Zarif offered a vague "apology" for his "inability to continue" his service.

In an Instagram post, Zarif said "as a modest servant, I have never had any concern but elevating the foreign policy and the status of the foreign ministry".

Born in 1960, Zarif lived in the United States from the age of 17 as a student in San Francisco and Denver, and subsequently as a diplomat to the United Nations in NY, where he served as Iranian ambassador from 2002 to 2007.

The Guard's website quoted Soleimani Wednesday as saying that Zarif "is in charge of foreign policy" and has "always been supported and approved by senior officials in the system, especially the supreme leader".

Zarif announced his resignation on February 25.

His ready smile and mastery of both the English language and social media has made him a formidable diplomatic rival.

He said he therefore could not accept the resignation as it would not be in the national interest. "Zarif is gone, good riddance".

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