Iran's president rejects resignation of his foreign minister

Iran's president rejects resignation of his foreign minister

Iran's president rejects resignation of his foreign minister

A news website in Iran, close to the reformist faction of the establishment, reports that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has expressed his disagreement with Mohammad Javad Zarif's resignation from the post of foreign minister.

"I have had no concern but elevating the foreign policy and credibility of the Foreign Ministry as the one who is responsible for the foreign policy and in the forefront of defending the national interests and the people's rights at the global arena", Zarif said in a post on his Instagram.

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 worldwide community and the United States.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, welcomed Zarif's departure.

The widespread publicity around Zarif's resignation announcement, and then strong support from senior officials which followed, may give him political ammunition against hardliners as an internal power struggle continues. "As long as I am here Iran will not get nuclear weapons", he wrote in Hebrew on Twitter.

"I believe your resignation is against the country's interests and do not approve it", Rouhani wrote in a letter to Zarif, the website said.

Rouhani said Zarif's concerns about the need to protect the status and credibility of the Foreign Ministry and also the position of the foreign minister as the highest responsible person in implementing foreign policy is "understandable" and "I confirm" them.

An ally of Zarif told Reuters his resignation was motivated by criticism of the nuclear accord, under increasingly intense fire in Iran since the United States abandoned it a year ago.

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"There were closed-door meetings every week, where top officials were bombarding him with questions about the deal and what will happen next and so on", a Zarif ally told Reuters on condition of anonymity. His rejection of the resignation, reported by the state-run IRNA news agency, continued that praise.

The president said these things are the "best indications" that Zarif should stay in his job as chief diplomat. Many hardliners took issue with the deal to begin with because it forced Iran to compromise its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

In another show of confidence, senior Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani said Zarif - was the main person in charge of Iranian foreign policy and he was supported by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The political uncertainty comes at a hard time for Iran's leaders as the newly reimposed USA sanctions have dashed hopes of an economic breakthrough.

After U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal, Zarif's conservative opponents accused him of selling out his country.

Assad, a major recipient of Iranian aid during his country's almost eight-year civil war, met with both Khamenei and Rouhani on his rare foreign visit, but not with Zarif.

Hardships have triggered waves of nation-wide protests, with calls for both Rouhani and clerical leaders to step down.

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