Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s controversial Foreign Minister, resumed his post on Wednesday, February 27, after Hassan Rouhani refused his resignation.
However, this round trip revealed the extent of internal crises in the Iranian theocracy.
As for Hassan Rouhani, although he is delighted with the return of the irreplaceable head of diplomacy, we must point out that this event put an end to the government’s credibility on the international scene. While the fact that all decisions on the Iranian Regime foreign policy are taken by the Supreme Leader and his close guard, and not by the President and his cabinet, was already a matter of public record, Mohammad Javad Zarif’s action dispelled any doubts that might still have been expressed on this subject. Yet, it was no one but the general Qasem Soleimani, who took the lead in limiting the damage by saying that Zarif was indeed the head of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic. The choice of the Commander-in-Chief of the Qods Force, in charge of extraterritorial operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was at the very least clumsy to launch such an assertion. If there is anyone other than the Supreme Leader who is not accountable to anyone, including the head of the diplomacy, for his agitation across borders, he is the general Qasem Soleimani who has been nicknamed the “butcher of Syria”!
In any case, the Fararu website, close to Rouhani, does not agree with the Soleimani: “This resignation proves that the government does not play a leading role in foreign policy”.
“Zarif’s resignation has put an end to the government’s credibility and its place in the Iranian political system on the international scene,” says Mehdi Motaharnia, an expert close to Rouhani, quoted by Fararu.
“The regime’s foreign policy is not the domain of the government and the departure of the FM or even the President of the Republic will not change that,” adds Motaharnia, who points out that serious decisions must be taken within the next six months, especially with regard to relations with the United States.
“The dispute is not tactical,” said Fereydoun Majlesi, a former diplomat of the Iranian regime, also close to Hassan Rouhani. “We have to see whether or not we want to get back on track, a foreign policy that started with the JCPOA[the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 with five international powers] and was later destroyed,” he added
“In the current status quo, the rejection of FATF legislation could be sufficient for the resignation of the entire cabinet,” the former diplomat added: “It should come as no surprise that even Hassan Rouhani would have to resign.
At the same time, in the clan of the Supreme Leader, there is no hiding his fury. Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the newspaper Kayhan, was angry that the resignation of the first diplomat from the Rouhani cabinet overshadowed Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Tehran, which he described as a “victory”. “It seems that Mr. Zarif does not appreciate this victory very much,” Shariatmadari said, pounding Zarif for his record “marked in particular by the defeat of the JCPOA.”
Kayhan’s editor-in-chief also mentions that “external enemies ridiculously refer to Zarif’s resignation to deduce the regime’s debility.”
On February 26, Mashregh News, a website close to Ali Khamenei, also castigated Zarif and accused him of trying to influence society in order to put pressure on the state to “admit new concessions to the United States.
“The resignation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which occurred at the worst possible time, transmits a significant message to the West,” Mashregh News repeats, adding: “The resignation of the FM, which occurred at the worst possible time, transmits significant pulses to the West.”
This designation acknowledges the website close to Khamenei, “could persuade the West that apart from the economic crisis and the crisis in living conditions in Iran, the political situation at the head of the state and government is also in crisis.
*Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.