Zarif's Diplomacy Irritated Bolton, Pompeo, Netanyahu - Iranian Analyst

© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikNational security adviser John Bolton, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, attend a news conference between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden at the White House
National security adviser John Bolton, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, attend a news conference between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden at the White House - Sputnik International
Most Iranian lawmakers have signed a letter asking President Hassan Rouhani for Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to continue his job, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported, quoting an MP. Sputnik discussed the shock announcement with Mehran Haghirian, an Iranian analyst and doctorate student of Gulf Studies at Qatar University.

Sputnik: What’s your take on Zarif’s sudden resignation announcement?

Mehran Haghirian: Zarif’s devotion to advancing the national interests of Iran in a non zero-sum manner allowed the country to forge meaningful relations with European and Asian countries, and at the same time, his intellect and charisma garnered international admiration and led him to be amongst the most favorite, recognized, and history making foreign ministers in world history (and amongst the most followed on social media).
No Iranian can deny this man’s service to the country, or ignore the significance of his background, experience, and charm in advancing Iran’s national interests. No one in the int’l community who seeks peace and stability can be happy of his departure either.

READ MORE: 'Good Riddance': Netanyahu Takes Parting Shot at Iran's Departing FM Zarif

Sputnik: How likely is President Rouhani to accept this resignation?

Mehran Haghirian: President Rouhani himself is unlikely to accept Dr. Zarif’s resignation due to the fact that he has repeatedly illustrated and stated his admiration for what he has done at the foreign ministry in advancing Iran’s foreign policy and national interests. Furthermore, President Rouhani is clearly aware of the popularity and support Dr. Zarif has garnered in the past 5-6 years and this point has been further reinforced by the outpouring of support by ordinary Iranians as well as high-level officials in the Majles and foreign ministry following the announcement of his resignation last night.

Sputnik: What changes will this bring to Iran’s foreign policy, is it likely to become more hardline?

This picture taken on February 13, 2019 shows Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif checks his watch during a press conference in Tehran - Sputnik International
Iranian Media Speculates About Reasons for Zarif's Shock Resignation
Mehran Haghirian: An overwhelming number of analysts have predicted that Iran’s foreign policy will become more hardline if Zarif’s resignation is accepted. However, I highly doubt that this will be the case. The most likely contender for replacing Dr. Zarif is Abbas Araghchi. As such, it is difficult to assume that the trajectory of the foreign policy will change, mainly due to the fact that Zarif and Araghchi have been on the same page since the very start of the Rouhani Administration in 2013.

Even if Amirabdollahian or others that are not in Zarif’s inner circle are nominated to replace him, we still cannot assume that Iran will have a more hardline foreign policy as the foreign minister will pursue President Rouhani’s directives and foreign policy approach.

READ MORE: US Policy Towards Iran to Remain Unchanged Despite Zarif Resignation — Pompeo

Sputnik: How will this move affect the future of the Iran nuclear deal?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister - Sputnik International
Most Iranian MPs Sign Letter Asking for Zarif to Remain Foreign Minister - MP
Mehran Haghirian: Zarif’s positive approach towards diplomacy and global engagement clearly irritated those who were seeking the continuation of Iran’s isolation since 2013, including the likes of Netanyahu, Bolton, Pompeo, and MbS. At the same time, we can assume that the remaining signatories to the nuclear agreement will be very disappointed with his departure as Iran’s foreign minister. It is not an exaggeration to state that it was Zarif’s personal involvement in the nuclear negotiations and his personal relationships with European and Asian foreign ministers that have resulted in the expansion of relations with these countries and in keeping the JCPOA intact. However, the future of the JCPOA, with or without Dr. Zarif, depends on the decisions taken by both the Supreme Leader and the President.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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