Iranian Foreign Minister Resigned After Kept In Dark About Assad Trip To Tehran
According to Iranian media, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s shock resignation late last month was a response to his being left in the dark about Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s recent visit to Tehran. Assad last week made his first trip to Iran since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011, and met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as well as Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force that oversees Iranian military activities abroad. Zarif subsequently announced on social media that he was leaving his post, a move formally rejected by President Hassan Rouhani. The ordeal was construed as a small window into the power struggle between so-called moderates and hard-liners in the Islamic Republic, with the central sticking point being the 2015 nuclear deal that Zarif negotiated and which Rouhani still backs. The two officials have faced internal pressure and dissent since United States President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and re-imposed sanctions of Iran.