Hidden Rivalries behind Iranian Foreign-Policy Making: The Case of Zarif's Resignation

Number: 40

Iran’s government and foreign policy have been thrust into turmoil by the sudden resignation from his post and subsequent reinstatement of foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The unexpected development adds to the increasing difficulty of the Hassan Rouhani administration to avoid slipping into the classic “lame-duck” position of presidential tenures approaching their end. With little over two years remaining of his second and last mandate, Rouhani is increasingly hemmed in by a growing inability to direct the key levers of policy, particularly the economic and foreign-policy components, and has now been hit by a salvo of unexpected friendly fire. This article will provide the background to Zarif’s decision, the reasons behind its rescinding by Rouhani, and the consequences for the government and the rest of the establishment.