Khamenei Has Reportedly Told Zarif Not To Resign

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who led his country's nuclear negotiations with world powers, signaled that his surprise decision to resign was because he was undermined in his role.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's resignation on Wednesday, the government's official website said.

"In the view of Dr Rouhani, the Islamic Republic of Iran has only one foreign policy and one foreign minister", President Rouhani's chief-of-staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, wrote on Instagram, the BBC said.

The foreign minister resumed his duties by attending the official welcome ceremony for Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to Tehran and by speaking on the phone with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem.

On Tuesday, Rouhani signalled his support for Zarif by saying he had been at the forefront of the fight against America, in comments reported by state news agency IRNA.

Zarif more than likely will return to work.

Zarif, the US-educated veteran diplomat who served as the architect of the pact which curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, announced it on Instagram on Monday. "As a modest servant I have never had any concern but elevating the foreign policy and the status of the foreign ministry", he added in an Instagram post. He has been under pressure from hardliners in parliament over his handling of the fallout from Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

It remains unclear what sparked Zarif's resignation.

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.

The Guard's website later quoted Soleimani as offering his support to the foreign minister. Analysts say Rouhani is particularly vulnerable because of the economic crisis assailing the rial, which has hurt ordinary Iranians and emboldened critics to openly call for his ouster.

"Zarif is gone. Good riddance", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.


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