Rouhani rejects Zarif’s resignation

February 27, 2019 - 11:7

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani has refused to accept resignation by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying it is contrary to the country’s interests.

“Since according to the words of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution I consider you trustworthy, brave, courageous and faithful and in the forefront of resistance against widespread pressure by the United States, I believe your resignation is against the country’s interests and don’t agree with it,” Rouhani wrote in a letter released on Wednesday.

He added, “I am well aware of pressure being exerted against the country’s diplomatic apparatus, the government and even the president who have been elected by the people… I am sure that we will pass this difficult stage.”

Rouhani said the successes of the Foreign Ministry just over the last few months are noticeable, citing Iran’s legal victories against the United States in the International Court of Justice, the failure of the U.S.-organized conference in Warsaw which was intended to demonize Iran, and Zarif’s reasonable and logical speech at the Munich Security Conference as examples.

Rouhani said the happiness of the “sworn enemies” of the Iranian people such as the Zionist regime of Israel are the “best evidence” of the success of Zarif.

Writing on his Twitter account, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday expressed joy over Zarif’s resignation, saying, “Zarif is gone - good riddance.”

The president said these things are the “best indications” that Zarif should stay in his job as chief diplomat.

“You are trusted by me and the whole Islamic Republic system, especially by the Supreme Leader. Continue your work resolutely and bravely,” Rouhani suggested to Zarif.

In remarks on Tuesday, Zarif said he was leaving his job so that the Foreign Ministry could find its “legal place” in foreign policy. 

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.

The president added the Foreign Ministry is responsible for foreign relations and “as I have repeatedly ordered all bodies … should be fully in coordination with the ministry”.

Zarif announced his resignation in a post on his Instagram on Monday night.

“I am grateful for magnanimity of the dear and courageous people of Iran and the respectable authorities’ over the past 67 months,” Zarif said.

“I sincerely apologize for inability to continue [my] service and all the shortcomings and flaws during [my] tenure,” he added. “May you be happy and proud.”

In a letter to President Rouhani on Tuesday, 135 MPs asked President Rouhani to seriously reject Zarif’s resignation.

In their letter the MPs described Zarif’s decision to quit his post as “shocking”.

“The shocking and surprising report of the resignation of Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif as the most committed, cherished, and competent minister in the eleventh and twelfth administrations… caused sorry and concern,” part of the MPs’ letter said, according to the Mehr news agency.

Zarif had been serving in the capacity of foreign minister since Rouhani was elected president in the summer of the 2013.

‘I have no concern but elevating foreign policy’

Zarif said on Wednesday that he has no concern but elevating Iran’s foreign policy.

“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 international arena,” Zarif said in a post on his Instagram.

‘Top officials support Zarif’

General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Quds Force, said on Wednesday that Zarif is the only person in charge of foreign policy and he is supported by the country’s top officials.

“Mr. Zarif is in charge of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy and has always been supported by the system’s top officials.”

General Soleimani noted that Zarif has taken valuable actions in line with the national interests.


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