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Soleimani's support boosts Zarif, isolates Iran's hard-liners

Iran’s foreign minister has returned to his post with renewed authority after expressions of support from an array of the ruling elite, but his hard-line detractors are still poised to make gains in the country’s next elections.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui - RC13BC72B9E0
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News of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's abrupt resignation late on Feb. 25 spurred celebration and joy among Iran's powerful hard-liners.

"The disgraceful JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] has reached a dead end. Zarif is like a gambler who gambled his entire existence on trusting [former US Secretary of State] John Kerry and lost," proclaimed hard-line former member of parliament Hamid Rasaee. Conservative politician Mahmoud Nabavian declared, "The man behind the damaging agreements of Sa’adabadParisGenevaLausanne, the JCPOA and FATF [Financial Action Task Force] has resigned. Thank God." Lawmaker Javad Karimi Ghodoosi handed out sweets to fellow members of parliament, saying he was "certain" Zarif was finished.

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