Iran FM Zarif announces resignation, not yet accepted
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has abruptly tendered his resignation, although there was no sign President Hassan Rouhani had accepted it.
Zarif offered an apology for his "shortcomings" in the unexpected message on Instagram on Monday, with prominent members of parliament immediately calling for Rouhani not to accept the resignation.
Zarif, 59, has served as Rouhani's foreign minister since August 2013 and has been under constant pressure from hardliners who opposed his policy of detente with the West.
"I apologise for my inability to continue serving and for all the shortcomings during my term in office," Zarif said in the message posted on his verified Instagram account.
The resignation was confirmed by an informed source, however, in a tweet, Rouhani's chief of staff strongly denied reports it had been accepted by the president.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who announced his resignation on Monday, is at the frontline of the battle against America, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
ISNA reported that a petition in support of Zarif had been signed by a majority of MPs.
Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo dismissed his counterpart's announcement, tweeting: "We note @JZarif's resignation. We'll see if it sticks.
"Either way, he and @HassanRouhani are just front men for a corrupt religious mafia.
"We know @khamenei_ir makes all final decisions. Our policy is unchanged -- the regime must behave like a normal country and respect its people," he said. referring to Iran's supreme leader.