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Zarif reacts to Rouhani’s rejection of his resignation

28 February 2019

"The indications are that there has been no intention for Mr. Zarif to be absent from this meeting, and I must emphasize that he is the main foreign policy secretary of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran" Soleimani said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

In his first public comments after Monday's announcement, Zarif said he hoped the move would eventually allow the ministry "to return to its rightful place in foreign policy".

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, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, long a critic of Iran, welcomed his departure.

One of the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal with the West, Mr Zarif's critics claimed vindication when US President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the agreement past year.

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Zarif posted again on Instagram this morning to thank the Iranian people and their officials for their support, saying that he had always been committed to serving his country.

Soleimani blasted the "enemies' glee" and said it would have no effect on Iran's determination to "safeguard its national interests and the glorious victory of the Islamic resistance front". "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. "Zarif is gone, good riddance".

Zarif's resignation and public comments highlight the struggle of moderate Iranian politicians to engage with the West in the face of hardline opposition at home and aggressive USA policies.

Though the rest of the parties to the the nuclear accord - Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany - have said they will maintain the deal along with Iran, they have difficulties overcoming the USA sanctions, which have impacted the Iranian economy, causing its rial currency to plummet. Rouhani has warned that the country is facing the worst economic crisis in 40 years.

Zarif reacts to Rouhani’s rejection of his resignation