Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced his resignation Monday. He was not present for an important meeting with Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad. His most recent trip was to China. On February 20 he tweeted “Accompanied Speaker Larijani to Beijing for important talks with President Xi & Chinese leadership on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our nations. Topping agenda: Iran’s role in Belt & Road initiative as well as continued political, security & economic cooperation.”
On Instagram he wrote about the day of Mother and Women, congratulating the women of Iran and then noting “thanks to all the people and those responsible officials during last 67 months. I fail to continue in my position… I apologized all of you because of all things that I couldn’t do for you. Be proud and happy.”
A post at Jamaran confirmed the details. Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Sayed Abbas Moussawi in an interview with IRNA confirmed the resignation of Mohammad Jawad Zarif, the report notes. “There is still no news of the acceptance of the delicate resignation of the president.”
Zarif was rumored to oppose Iran’s continuing role in Syria and he also faced withering criticism at home over various issues. For instance in September 2018 he was slammed for paying tribute to a Kurdish flag. “Javad Zarif was summoned to answer questions before parliament, with Iranian lawmakers such as Nader Ghazipour and Javad Karimi Ghoddousi, who are also members of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, raising the subject.” He was accused in 2016 of being “duped” by the US over the JCPOA. He was also critiqued in 2017 for sending a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
It appears that he often faced rebuke from Ghoddousi and others in the “hardline” camp in Tehran over issues relating to the Gulf and US relations. This stalked him from 2015 through the fall of 2018. It didn’t appear to affect his work in January and mid-February. This included his trip to the Munich Security Conference. However, it appears that just a week later he had decided to resign.