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Iran's Foreign Minister Announces Sudden Resignation

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking last month during the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Zarif abruptly resigned Monday.

The foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, resigned Monday without explanation in a brief message on Instagram.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that Zarif was a central player in the nuclear negotiations with the Obama administration.

"In a post on Instagram, Mohammad Javad Zarif apologizes for what he calls his shortcomings and his 'inability to continue to serve' as foreign minister. An official at Iran's mission to the U.N. confirms that Zarif has resigned," said Kelemen.

"Zarif was a key player in the negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers. President Trump withdrew from that agreement and has been restoring sanctions despite attempts by the other signatories to keep the deal in place. It limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief."

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency also confirmed Zarif's resignation, according to Haaretz, adding that no immediate reason was offered.

As The Associated Press reports, Zarif's resignation is a setback for President Hassan Rouhani:

"Zarif's resignation leaves Iran's relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani without one of his main allies in pushing the Islamic Republic toward more negotiation with the West. Analysts have said Rouhani faces growing political pressure from hard-liners within the government as the unraveling nuclear deal further strains the country's long-weakened economy."

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Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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