On Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif announced his official retirement after a career of 40 years as a diplomat including 8 years as the foreign minister. He will be replaced by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a veteran diplomat.
Zarif, served as foreign minister for two four-year terms of Hassan Rouhani’s government. Zarif hold a PhD in international law and policy from the University of Denver in US and has been an associate professor in Tehran university for years. He now intedns to return to teaching and research at Tehran University.
In a passionate farewell message, Zarif thanked the people of Iran for their “generosity” and “hospitality” and apologized for his shortcomings. Zarif pleged that in his four decades of service his only criteria was the interets of his country. But his position sometimes bound him to take certain actions.
“History will judge both the worth of our achievements and the reasons of our failures,” he said in his farewell statement. “But we always tried our best.” Iran has failed to acheive most of its foreign policy goals in the last 8 years.
Zarif remained surrounded by controversies throughout his term. He was largely criticised for the failed negotiations with the west. His actions like welcoming the Taliban for negototiatons and “walk” with the former US Secretary of State John Kerry offended many back home. While the Us santioned him for enabling Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies in Iran.
Zarif also acknowledged the opposition to his initiatives like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Caspian Sea Convention and a 25-year agreement with China.
He also mentioned the leak of an audio file in April this year, published by a London-based news channel, which whipped up a political storm in Iran and forced him out of the presidential race.
For his last act as Foreign minister Zarif met with Japanese Foreign Minister Tohimitsu Motegi in hopes to strengthen bilateral relations, resuscitate the JCPOA and discuss the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan.