Iran foreign minister who negotiated nuclear deal quits in surprise announcement

Controversial politician apologises for 'inability to continue serving and for all...shortcomings'

Zamira Rahim@ZamiraRahim
Tuesday 26 February 2019 01:27
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Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has announced his resignation in an unexpected Instagram post, offering an apology to the country’s people.

“Many thanks for the generosity of the dear and brave people of Iran and its authorities over the past 67 months,” he said.

“I sincerely apologise for the inability to continue serving and for all the shortcomings during my service. Be happy and worthy.”

Mr Zarif, a US-educated politician who is considered one of the lead architects of the 2015 Iran-US nuclear deal, did not explain why he was resigning.

He had hit out at Iran’s hardliners a day earlier, during a speech in Tehran.

”We cannot hide behind imperialism’s plot and blame them for our own incapability,” he said on Sunday.

“Independence does not mean isolation from the world.”

Iran’s anti-Western hardliners blamed Mr Zarif when the US pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

The politician was appointed minister of foreign affairs in August 2013 after Mr Rouhani won the presidency, while promising to open up Iran to the outside world.

Mr Zarif also caused uproar in February 2014, when he publicly condemned the Holocaust and was subsequently summoned to parliament.

Holocaust denial has been a staple of public speeches in Iran for decades.

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A spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations confirmed the resignation but it remains unclear whether Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, will accept it.

Additional reporting by agencies

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