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Zarif returns as Iran's foreign minister after resignation rejected

By
Clyde Hughes
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, listens along with delegates as Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, speaks at the 73rd General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25, 2018. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, listens along with delegates as Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, speaks at the 73rd General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25, 2018. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif returned to his post Wednesday after his resignation from the position was rejected by President Hassan Rouhani, who promised he had the full support of the country's leaders.

Rouhani said in a letter to Zarif on Wednesday that he had been "standing on the frontline of resistance" against the United States and its effort to hurt Iran through sanctions and its withdrawal from the 2015 multi-country nuclear deal, state-owned PressTV reported.

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"You are trusted by myself and the whole Islamic establishment, especially Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei]," Rouhani said. "You should continue on your path with strength, courage and wisdom because God stands by his righteous servants."

Rouhani said the reaction to his announced resignation by "sworn enemies" of Iran was the "best evidence" that he was doing a good job on the world stage.

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Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to celebrate the resignation after hearing about the announcement Tuesday.

"Zarif is gone; good riddance," he said, the Jerusalem Post reported.

On Monday, there were open questions as to how much sway Zarif had within the Iranian government over a perceived snub in which he was excluded from meetings between Iranian leaders and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hasan Rouhani on a rare visit to Tehran.

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Zarif openly criticized infighting between Iranian moderates and hardliners in the media, calling those disagreements "deadly poison."

"We first have to remove our foreign policy from the issue of party and factional fighting," Zarif said in an interview that appeared Tuesday in Jomhuri Eslami. "The deadly poison for foreign policy is for foreign policy to become an issue of party and factional fighting."

On Wednesday, though, Zarif appeared side-by-side by Rouhani for photos as they welcomed the Armenian prime minister to Tehran. On Tuesday, a majority of Iranian Parliament members signed a letter asking for Zarif to remain in his position.

"As a modest servant, I have had no concern other than elevating [our] foreign policy and the credibility of the foreign ministry as the person in charge of advancing foreign policy and protecting national interests and people's rights in the international arena," Zarif said about the support he received after his resignation.

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