Zarif's departure would have deprived Iran of its most skilled diplomat, a patient negotiator who was able to strike a deal with Western powers during years of intense negotiations.
Javad Zarif said he was stepping down and apologized for "shortcomings" with his work in a surprise Instagram post on Monday. "As a modest servant I have never had any concern but elevating the foreign policy and the status of the foreign ministry", he said in an Instagram post.
"If he (Khamenei) publicly backs Zarif and Rouhani, this crisis will be over in a good way and it will narrow the gap between different political camps in the country", said an official.
President Rouhani's rejection of his resignation also indicates that he can ill-afford to lose an ally at this crucial juncture for Iran and its engagement with the West.
The political establishment "understands that the current USA administration's policy is to turn matters such as Iran's nuclear program, missile program and regional policy into security issues", Masoudi said.
Notably excluding Zarif, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Rouhani, and Soleimani met with Assad in Tehran on Monday. You are the person approved by me for preserving the worthy place of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as the highest-ranking official in Iran's foreign policy. At the time Zarif called for necessity of Iran to deal with European conditions more seriously, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued the most critical words to the Europeans, and considered them as partners with the U.S. in an attempt to destroy Iran.
Niu Song, a researcher from Shanghai International Studies University, said Zarif's resignation is a notable signal. President Donald Trump previous year pulled the USA out of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement that was supposed to herald an end to Iran's global isolation.
Zarif was named the Foreign Minister of Iran when Rouhani took office in 2013. But it is nearly certain that Rouhani would have needed a green light from the man with ultimate authority in Iran. That is to say, either the "moderate " faction will enjoy more cooperation with the hardline establishment, compromising its pragmatism in the process, or it will continue to be overridden by the IRGC and other allies of the supreme leader.
In an Instagram post, the minister thanked Iranian officials and the nation for their support, saying he has always been committed to serving the country.