Iran in grip of massive backlash over Zarif’s sudden resignation

Al Monitor – The surprise resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has sparked major debate in Iran regarding the reasons behind the departure. Zarif said his resignation was intended to protect the Foreign Ministry’s “integrity,” but he offered no other explanation, leaving room for a variety of speculations, many of them focused on Zarif’s perception that he lacks the authority to execute his powers.

Reformist journalist Emadeddin Baghi noted that “Zarif’s message was clear: People vote in elections for a certain political program … but the unelected parallel organizations within the state hijack the votes to impose the very policies which people reject in their ballot papers.” He predicted that more of President Hassan Rouhani’s ministers may follow suit and resign as they find themselves powerless in their positions.

Zarif’s absence at recent meetings in Tehran with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were due to a “lack of administrative coordination,” an unnamed Foreign Ministry source told Entekhab. In response, pro-Reform sociologist Hamid Reza Jalaeipour attacked those who kept “Zarif, the representative of the country’s official diplomacy, behind the door.” However, in his first interview following the announced departure, Zarif ruled out personal reasons, and noted that he made the decision to “defend the position of the Foreign Ministry,” whose powers, he said, had been violated

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