Assad’s surprise visit to Tehran triggered Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s resignation?

Irnain Foreign Minister Javad Zarif/Image:IRNA

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stepped down on February 25th, announcing his resignation in an Instagram post.

“I am apologising you for all the shortcomings … in the past years during my time as foreign minister … I thank the Iranian nation and officials,” he wrote on his Instagram page.

There was no specific reason cited for the resignation, which can only take effect if Iranian President Rouhani accepts it. 

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency cited a spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, confirming Zarif had resigned. 

Javad Zarif was appointed minister of foreign affairs in August 2013, two-years before Iran agreed to scale back its uranium enrichment programme and pledged not to develop nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of international sanctions as part of a landmark nuclear deal brokered with the United States, and other P5+1 members

A vocal supporter of the deal, Mohammad Zarif has since come under pressure from more hardline power blocs within the Islamic Republic of Iran who were opposed to the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Criticism of the accord has become more intense in recent months following President Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw from the Iranian Nuclear Deal and reimpose sanctions on Islamic Republic.

U.S. seceratary of state Mike Pompeo’s tweet on Zarif’s resignation

Syrian President’s visit as a Catalyst?

Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad/Image: Al Jazeera

There were reports of Zarif being unhappy with the Syrian president Assad’s unannounced surprise visit to Iran.

Middle Eastern Entekhab news agency reported that it had attempted to contact Iranain Foreign Minsiter Zarif and received the message: “After the photos of today’s meetings, Javad Zarif no longer has any credibility in the world as the foreign minister!”

Zarif was not present at any meetings between Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Hassan Rouhani. Syria has been a major recipient of Iranian humanitarian and military aid during its civil war.

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