Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the resignation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who announced the surprise move on Monday via social media. Speculation has been rampant as to the reason behind the decision, with many postulating that infighting between Iran’s so-called moderates and hardliners—especially as regards the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord—forced Zarif out of office. “There were closed-door meetings every week where top officials were bombarding him with questions about the deal and what will happen next and so on,” an Iranian official told Reuters. “He and his boss [Rouhani] were under a huge amount of pressure.” The political turmoil comes as renewed American sanctions on the Islamic Republic are beginning to bite, and as other parties to the atomic agreement have yet to unveil proposed mechanisms to allow continued non-dollar trade with Tehran. A majority of lawmakers in the Iranian parliament reportedly signed a letter calling for Zarif to remain in his post, setting up a possible political showdown.
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