TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s resignation yesterday, the government’s official website said.
“I believe your resignation is against the country’s interests and do not approve it,” Rouhani wrote in a letter to Zarif, the website said.
“I consider you, as put by the leader, to be ‘trustworthy, brave and pious’ and in the forefront of resistance against America’s all-out pressure,” he added. referring to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Zarif abruptly tendered his resignation on Instagram on Monday, seemingly over being left out of meetings with visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier in the day, Iran’s Entekhab news agency reported.
Assad, a major recipient of Iranian aid during his country’s nearly eight-year civil war, met with both Khamenei and Rouhani on his rare foreign visit, but not with Zarif.
Rouhani praised Zarif’s “relentless efforts and endeavours” in bearing the “heavy responsibility” of the foreign affairs portfolio.