Iranian FM Issues Surprise Resignation on Instagram

Zarif apologizes for his shortcomings

In a surprise move announced on Instagram, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tendered his resignation. Exactly what he is resigning isn’t entirely clear, but in the statement he apologized for his shortcomings.

Zarif had been well-accepted internationally since he took office in 2013, and was at the center of negotiating the P5+1 nuclear deal. There had been no apparent reports that his resignation was coming.

President Rouhani’s office responded to the resignation early by saying only that they were “aware” of it. They’ve subsequently said that President Rouhani has not accepted the resignation. It’s not clear if that totally precludes Zarif leaving, though it is clear he is one of Rouhani’s most valued cabinet members.

Zarif’s mention of “shortcomings and flaws” may suggest he’d fallen out of favor with someone within the government, but so far there is no indication who that might be. As a key negotiator in the nuclear deal, Zarif would’ve been the logical choice to continue defending it internationally in the face of US opposition.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.