Iran’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, abruptly resigns

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a relatively moderate politician who played a major role in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, resigned on Monday, according to a post he made on his Instagram account.

Zarif’s resignation was subsequently confirmed by Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani still needs to accept Zarif’s resignation.

While President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the nuclear accord, Zarif, 59, had been working closely with European nations to keep the deal alive in some form. His departure throws that cooperation into question.

“I sincerely apologize for the incapacity to continue serving and all the shortcomings during the service,” Zarif wrote on Instagram in a somewhat strangely worded resignation. “Be happy and upbeat,” he added in the social media post.

The post included a drawing of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

No specific reason for Zarif’s departure was announced, but if he goes, it will be a victory for Iran’s hard-liners. Zarif has been the face of Iran’s diplomatic engagement with the world and he has long pushed for even deeper relations with the West. His departure could signal hawks within Iran’s government are ready to push back against the Trump administration,…

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