Iranian FM Javad Zarif Thanks Supporters, Will Remain in Post

Rouhani says losing Zarif would be 'against national interests'

Days after his resignation, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif remains in office, and signed two deals to expand cooperation with nearby Armenia. His resignation was rejected by President Hassan Rouhani.

The resignation effectively never happened, but it is still surrounded in speculation, as many analysts believe it reflects the ongoing internal dispute within Iran between the Reformists, which include Zarif and Rouhani, and more hardline factions.

This dispute is broad and touches on a lot of issues, but the biggest split is through Zarif’s office. Rouhani is a supporter of rapprochement with the West, and Zarif was a big part of making the P5+1 nuclear deal. The hardliners opposed the deal, saying the US could not be trusted.

With Zarif struggling to save the deal after the US dishonored it, he and Rouhani are under growing pressure from the hardliners, and Zarif may have thought he was protecting him by shouldering the blame.

Rouhani, however, says losing Zarif would be “against national interests,” and rejected the resignation. Considerable domestic support for Zarif during the controversy suggests that he and Rouhani may have come out ahead on the matter, at least in the court of public opinion.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of