“I thank the courageous Iranian people and the honorable officials for the past 76 months, and I apologize for not being able to keep up with my duties.” With these brief words, Iran’s moderate Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented his surprise resignation in his official capacity through the social networking site InStagram Without giving reasons.
The resignation caused a shock among the Iranian diplomatic circles, especially the reformist and moderate Pro-Rouhani movement, which may be taken by Javad Zarif, the most prominent minister and architect of the Iranian nuclear agreement, according to media and diplomatic sources from inside Tehran said that the minister did not see during a meeting between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a rare occurrence, for the minister, who used to attend such meetings.
The Iranian minister’s resignation through social media has been an unusual occurrence in Iran, and it bears great significance at a sensitive time in which Tehran suffers sanctions, internal divisions and conflicts between the two branches of power. This may indicate a disagreement with President Hassan Rowhani over the resignation. Not to accept them at the writing of these lines, denying the news that dealt with the acceptance of Rouhani resignation, and thus put Zarif-Rouhani in a dilemma by creating a vacuum in one of the most important ministries that pay much attention after the presidency of the country in 2013, especially as the transfer of the nuclear file to the Foreign Minister and personally Jawad Zarif after the file remained for years in the National Security Council without making any progress.
The resignation of Javad Zarif, who had a weight in Rouhani’s government, was the result of many reasons. His struggle with the hardline trend reached its peak in recent months, especially with the hardliners who dominate the regime’s interest-gathering complex rejecting Iran’s accession to the Financial Action Monitoring Group (FATF) and to comply with Group standards and to join the fight against international crime conventions (Palermo) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT).
The extremists called Zarif “treachery.” The parliament summoned him for questioning after signing the deal and to provide answers to MPs’ questions about the negotiation process. In which he was accused of “betraying” the supreme leader and not taking into account the red lines he had set in the nuclear negotiations.
Observers believe Zarif’s resignation is the result of pressure from the regime to withdraw from the nuclear deal, which was withdrawn by US President Donald Trump in May 2018 and after Trump re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, in two packages, the most intense in its history in August and November 2018, Oil sales, which has created an economic disaster for Iran to reduce the stock of foreign currency and other economic consequences.
Born in 1960 in Tehran, Zarif worked in diplomacy and foreign affairs. He was described as a pragmatist technocrat. He was introduced to the United States and the way the United Nations worked. After decades of working with them, he received his higher education in the United States, BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University in 1984. He received his doctorate at the Josef Korbel College of International Studies at the University of Denver in Law and International Politics in 1988.
Zarif joined the Iranian mission to the United Nations, where he served as a UN consultant between 1982 and 1988. After receiving his doctorate, Zarif became the Counselor and Chargé d’affairs of the Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations. Between 1988 and 1989 he was appointed advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs And from 1989 to 1992 Zarif returned to the United Nations as Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran to New York. Because of his work with Western countries and his friendship with some Western officials, he was not admired by the hardliners Iranians and was lectured at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Training Center at a university in the north of Tehran.
Between 1992 and 2002, Zarif was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs before returning to the United Nations again between 2002 and 2007, Iran’s permanent representative there. During this time, Zarif assumed a range of positions within the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Iranian Foreign Minister has been a member of the editorial board of a number of scientific journals, including the Iranian political and international affairs magazine, the Iranian Foreign Policy magazine, and has written numerous papers on various topics such as disarmament, human rights, international law and regional conflicts. In 2007, Zarif was the key speaker at the Iran-US Congress, attended by Chuck Hegel, Dennis Kucinich, Nicholas Kristof and Anders Liden.
Zarif resigned as Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations in 2007, the first minister in the Islamic Republic to have a Facebook page and Twitter himself, unlike the hardliners in Iran who see it as a spy tool and should be blocked.
Javad Zarif, held marathon negotiations in front of six Western countries, culminating in a historic nuclear agreement. Tehran was able to recognize its right to possess nuclear energy and lessened the West’s concerns over its program. The Iranians described it as a national hero and likened it to Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh in the era of the Shah of Iran. After the resolution of the nuclear crisis with the West, Zarif became a symbol of solving his country’s crises and a hope to provide a better life for the Iranian people, who suffered over years of sanctions that weighed heavily on their economy and aspired to achieve a breakthrough in Tehran’s external policies. Especially in its relations with the United States, and openness to all countries of the world, and to find a way out of the growing isolation.
Zarif became a new moderate face of a new foreign policy promised by Rowhani to the hardline foreign ministers who preceded him. He was chosen by the Iranian president to lead the Iranian delegation in nuclear negotiations with the West as a result of his diplomatic relations with many Western parties, which enabled him to ease tensions with the United States and Western countries.