FM Zarif Enjoying Leader’s Support: General Soleimani

Hassan Rouhani
Iran's president rejects resignation of his foreign minister
Author

28 February, 2019

Earlier, a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards said Zarif still enjoyed the support of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A USA -educated career diplomat, Zarif led Iran's negotiating team during lengthy talks with the US and other world powers that culminated in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or "Iran deal", which lifted some sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for commitments on its nuclear enrichment program.

"I consider you, as put by the leader, to be "trustworthy, fearless and pious" and in the forefront of resistance against America's all-out pressure", he added. The Trump administration pulled the USA out of the deal in May previous year and reinstated severe sanctions while claiming the pact isn't strict enough.

Analysts say Rouhani faces growing political pressure from hard-liners within the government as the nuclear deal unravels. Zarif could stop going to work at the Foreign Ministry, forcing Rouhani's hand, but there's no precedent for that in the history of the Islamic Republic.

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".

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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".

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi over the phone and offered mediation between India and Pakistan, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The pointman for Iran's engagement in Syria and Iraq, where it has played a major role in training paramilitaries for both countries' successful campaigns against the jihadists of the Islamic State group, said Zarif was in full charge of Iranian foreign policy.

The Guard's website later quoted Soleimani as offering his support to the foreign minister.

The Iranian president's chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, on Tuesday rejected media reports that the president has accepted Zarif's resignation. "Zarif is gone, good riddance".


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