Dubai: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif handed in his resignation, a Kuwaiti daily has said, citing a source “very close” to the minister.
“The minister presented his resignation to President Hassan Rouhani who asked him to withdraw it because of the very delicate circumstances in their country as the date of the imposition of the second US sanctions, including an oil embargo, is approaching,” Al Jarida reported on Monday.
According to the source, Zarif attributed his resignation to the fact that Iran has several foreign ministries operating in parallel with his ministry, referring to Al Quds Force, the special unit of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for foreign operations and which reports directly to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and is led by Major General Qassem Suleimani.
Zarif indicated the military interfered in foreign policy and obstructed the work of the diplomats, which diminished the significance of the work of veteran diplomats under such circumstances.
The source added Rouhani recently backed away from supporting the foreign ministry’s position, which allowed the “parallel foreign ministry” to act on its own and its mistakes abroad could not be contained.
In his resignation, Zarif indicated the Revolutionary Guards were doing whatever they wanted in foreign policy, especially with regard to neighbouring Arab countries.
He reportedly said he managed, thanks to his diplomatic skills, to create a rift between Washington and the Europeans vis-à-vis Iran, but the movements of the Revolutionary Guards and some extremist figures in Iran and Europe threatened to thwart all his achievements.
“So, Zarif prefers not to remain as foreign minister unless he can stand up to these moves, in a possible reference to the plot to bomb the gathering of Iranian opposition in Paris,” Al Jarida said.
French officials earlier this month said Iran’s ministry of intelligence was behind a plot to bomb a rally of opposition groups in Paris in June. Suspects were arrested in France, Belgium and Germany.
The source added Rouhani told Zarif he would convey his remarks to Khamenei to curb the movements of the parallel bodies and asked him to continue his work and not to disclose his resignation.
However, sources in the office of the President that are loyal to the Revolutionary Guard leaked the news to local and foreign media, causing the foreign ministry to strongly refute the reports.
On October 22, the Iranian foreign ministry rejected reports about Zarif’s resignation.
“The media hype surrounding the issue is totally false and is not even worth rejecting,” the ministry’s public relations office said.
“The rumour has been aired by ‘some illusionary and sick-minded’ dreamers who publish such fake news eying the top diplomat’s resignation.”