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The Debate

Zarif bows out: Where does foreign minister's resignation leave Iran?

The dust is still settling in Tehran after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation on Monday. It was an announcement that appeared to come as a complete surprise across the board. But in the latest surprise development, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he does not accept Zarif's resignation.

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In his unexpected message, 59-year-old Zarif, who's been in that post for nearly six years, offered an apology for what he called his "shortcomings" in his capacity as the Islamic Republic's top diplomat.

The US-educated, fluent English-speaking minister became a familiar face on the international stage during the negotiations surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal.

Back home in Iran - where as recently as December, hardliners were trying to get Zarif impeached - more moderate, reformist figures urged the president not to accept his resignation and it appears that the president has heeded those calls.

So why did Zarif resign? Why isn't Rouhani accepting? Where does this leave the Iran nuclear deal? And what does this tell us about the state of affairs in Iran?

Produced by Ingri BERGO, Charles WENTE and James VASINA.

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