A majority of Iranian lawmakers have signed a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, calling on him not to accept Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s resignation.
Ali Najafi Khoshroudi, spokesman for the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told IRNA on Tuesday that he was collecting signatures from lawmakers.
He noted that about 160 parliamentarians had already signed the letter, asking for Minister Zarif to be kept in office.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said the body was set to convene an extraordinary session on Tuesday to address Zarif’s resignation, according to Mehr news agency.
President Rouhani has not formally accepted the resignation.
‘Zarif on frontline of fight against US’
Addressing the 58th annual meeting of the general assembly of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on Tuesday, Rouhani said Zarif – along with Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh and Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati – was at the frontline of the battle against America, without mentioning the top diplomat’s resignation.
The Iranian chief executive thanked the three officials for the efficient roles they had played in confronting Washington under the sanctions.
‘One foreign policy, one foreign minister’
Shortly after the speech, the president’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi highlighted Rouhani’s words in praise of Zarif as “a clear sign of the satisfaction of the representative of the people of Iran about the wise and effective positions and work of Dr. Zarif and a tough response to some biased and incorrect analyses,”
“In the view of Dr. Rouhani, the Islamic Republic of Iran has only one foreign policy and one foreign minister,” Vaezi wrote in an Instagram post that included a picture of Rouhani and Zarif together.
Meanwhile, reacting to news that a number of Foreign Ministry employees and diplomats were planning to quit following his resignation, Zarif advised them against the move and urged them to “continue to fulfill their duties in defense of the country.”
“I require that all [my] dear brothers and sisters in the Foreign Ministry and representative offices continue to fulfill their duties in defense of the country with strength,” Zarif said on Tuesday.
The 59-year-old diplomat started serving as the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister when Rouhani took office in 2013.
He was reinstated in the post when the chief executive won a second term.
The foreign minister’s discourse has notably featured rejection of Iranophobia and promoted international interaction.
Zarif played an instrumental role in the negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers in 2015.