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

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 While President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the nuclear accord, Zarif, 59, had been working closely with European nations to keep the deal alive in some form.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. "While Zarif is not above criticism, over the past forty years, the U.S. and Iran have had few clear channels for negotiations, and Zarif has long been a major proponent of U.S.-Iran negotiations and deescalation. "Hardliners in the U.S. have long cheered for Iran to be led by radical elements to make engagement difficult and validate calls for sanctions and military action. More: Trump-Kim summit: Trump hints at economic rewards for North Korea Following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the accord, the White House re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran last year. As Iranians braced for the full restoration of those sanctions in November, Zarif told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview that his government would be open to talking to the U.S. about a new nuclear arms accord if Washington changed its approach to the deal it exited. Zarif hinted in the interview that Iran's government was waiting to see whether Trump would be a one-term president before deciding to completely abandon the nuclear agreement. European nations, led by France and Germany, are trying to launch a financial mechanism to enable Iran to keep trading with some nations despite the U.S. sanctions.

Trump warns Iran’s Rouhani to stop the threats or suffer historic consequences

The tweet came on the heels of Rouhani’s warning to Trump that hostile policies could lead to the “mother of all wars" with Iran. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious!” To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018 Within hours, Iranian state-owned news agency IRNA dismissed Trump's tweet, describing it as a "passive reaction" to Rouhani's remarks. The agency, a government mouthpiece, also said Monday that Trump's comment was only mimicking and copying Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who had in the past warned the West to "never threaten an Iranian." Rouhani earlier warned Trump to stop "playing with the lion's tail" and threatening Iran, "or else you will regret it." Trump earlier this year pulled the U.S. out of the international deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions. Trump has suggested Iranian leaders are "going to call me and say 'let's make a deal'" but Iran has rejected talks. Rouhani has previously lashed out against Trump for threatening to re-impose the sanctions, as well as for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries.