m3n4.net March 21, 2019

Iranian president rejects Foreign Minister Zarif's resignation

28 February 2019, 12:44 | Tara Lloyd

Iranian president rejects Foreign Minister Zarif's resignation

Iran's president rejects resignation of his foreign minister

The Emtedad news website quoting "an informed source" reported that "A very senior official of the regime has sent a short text to Zarif advising that his resignation is not in the interest of the country".

The 59-year old Mr Zarif, who has served as Mr Rouhani's foreign minister since 2013, has faced constant pressure and criticism from hardliners in the country as well as from the global community and the United States.

Although Zarif gave no specific reasons for his surprise resignation on Monday, Iranian media reports indicated he resigned over not being invited to a meeting between Rouhani and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran on Monday.

"As ordered several times, all bodies - including government or state bodies - must be in full coordination with this ministry with regards to foreign relations", the president said in his letter.

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Chairman of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Heshmatollah Falahat Pishe has also told Tasnim, "We are still unaware whether or not the president has accepted Mr. Zarif's resignation".

The pressure has only intensified since US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in May a year ago and reimposed crippling US sanctions.

More than 150 Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday asked Rouhani to turn down the foreign minister's resignation.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Mr Zarif shared an image of the Iranian flag and thanked the people and the leadership for their support in him.

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He expressed hope that the ministry "can carry out all its responsibilities within the framework of the constitution (and) the country's laws" with the "cooperation of. and supervision by the supreme leader and the president".

After Rouhani's announcement, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported that Zarif had attended a ceremony to welcome Armenia's prime minister to Tehran.

"Definitely, Zarif is in charge of foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and he has been always supported by top officials including the supreme leader", Soleimani reportedly said.

The news came shortly after Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards general Qassem Soleimani said on Wednesday that Mr Zarif had the backing of the country's leader and remained the person in charge of the country's foreign policy. "Zarif is gone, good riddance".

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