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Two days after resigning, Iran's Zarif returns to work

Two days after resigning, Iran's Zarif returns to work

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who led his country's nuclear negotiations with world powers, signaled that his surprise decision to resign was because he was undermined in his role.

More than 150 Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday asked Rouhani to turn down the foreign minister's resignation.

Zarif, whose Monday's resignation was rejected by Rouhani on Wednesday, urge both countries to practice restraint, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.

Zarif, 59, who has served as Rouhani's foreign minister since August 2013, has been under constant pressure from hardliners who opposed a landmark deal he reached with major powers in 2015 curving Iran's nuclear programme in return for an easing of worldwide sanctions.

He said he appreciated the support "of the honourable people of Iran, the elite and statesmen during my tenure, especially in the past 30 hours".

The resignation coincided with a visit from Syria's President Bashar Al Assad to Tehran, where he met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as Rouhani.

Zarif "is indeed in charge of the Islamic Republic of Iran's foreign policy", Soleimani said in comments carried by the Guards' official website Sepah News.

"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.

One of the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal with the West, Mr Zarif's critics claimed vindication when US President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the agreement previous year.

Zarif announced his resignation on February 25.

It remains unclear what sparked Zarif's resignation.

"In the view of Dr Rouhani, the Islamic Republic of Iran has only one foreign policy and one foreign minister", President Rouhani's chief-of-staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, wrote on Instagram, the BBC said.

The son of a wealthy family, Zarif overcame hard-line objections and Western suspicions to strike the accord with world powers that saw Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Analysts say Rouhani faces growing political pressure from hard-liners within the government as the nuclear deal unravels.

The 59-year old Mr Zarif, who has served as Mr Rouhani's foreign minister since 2013, has faced constant pressure and criticism from hardliners in the country as well as from the global community and the United States.