Mystery surrounds Mohammad Javad Zarif’s ‘resignation’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL MOUSILY)

 

According to a report, there are other diplomats who will resign if Zarif indeed leaves the foreign ministry.

A day after Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation on Instagram, the foreign minister of Iran is receiving support from members of parliament amid calls for the president not to accept his decision.

The resignation of Iran’s most famous diplomat and the man often seen as the foreign face of Tehran has plunged Iran’s highest levels of government and media into a momentary sense of bewilderment and lack of certainty.

It illustrates not only the differences within the regime but also the ability of news organizations in Tehran to gather news with some levels of independence, more than in other totalitarian regimes. The Iranian Students News Agency, for instance, provides a discussion about various “sources” close to Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani’s office.

According to the report, there are other diplomats who will resign if Zarif indeed leaves the foreign ministry. Rouhani’s chief of staff Mahmous Vaezi even initially denied that the resignation had taken place. ISNA also reported that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, had a say in Zarif retaining his post.

It was not clear if that meant the leader might step in or if Khamenei wanted to push Zarif out. Meanwhile, up to 150 members of parliament have reportedly signed a letter urging Rouhani to reject the resignation. There are 290 seats in parliament.

Fars News noted that Zarif was displeased by his absence from the meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday. He had not been invited, apparently, or had not received adequate information about the high-level meeting. These were “subtle” and “delicate” matters, Iranian media reported, noting that Zarif and Rouhani had differences of opinion over foreign policy.

There are rumors that Zarif opposed the increasing role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in foreign policy and that he represented a more “moderate” agenda in Iran. But Zarif has also previously tweeted support for the IRGC, so it is not a simple story of hard-liners and moderates.

Full article: Mystery surrounds Mohammad Javad Zarif’s ‘resignation’ (The Jerusalem Post)

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