Javad Zarif Returns—to a Foreign Ministry Still Out in the Cold

Iran’s Top Diplomat Vies for Authority

Javad Zarif in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2018 POOL / REUTERS

“Considering that state affairs are not carried out in an optimal way free from the meddling of irresponsible persons, I am forced to resign my post to warn of potential dangers. I do not see it fitting to stay on as a cabinet member without being able to introduce any fundamental changes in the current system.” 

These were the departing words of Karim Sanjabi, Iran’s first postrevolutionary foreign minister, who resigned on April 15, 1979, after serving only fifty-five days in office. Iran’s current foreign minister, Javad Zarif, expressed similar frustrations when he tendered his resignation last week, after being excluded from an unannounced meeting with the visiting President of Syria. Referring to pictures of the meeting from which he was conspicuously absent, Zarif announced on social media, “After the photos of today’s meetings, [the notion of] Javad Zarif as the foreign minister has no credibility around the world.”

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