We are deeply saddened by the resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday afternoon, which occurred just hours after he met with our 28-person American peace delegation led by CODEPINK: Women for Peace. Zarif talked at length about how dissatisfied the Iranian people had become with the Iran nuclear agreement, and the pressure this put on him. He said that when the agreement was signed in 2015 over 80 percent of the Iranian people supported it, as they hoped it would bring Iran back into the international community and improve their economy.
Instead, President Trump quit the agreement and implemented even more sanctions on Iran and on any international company that has economic dealings with Iran. Now just 51 percent of Iranians think the nuclear agreement is a good idea because it has brought no economic relief to the Iranian people. Jarif expressed frustration with the Europeans, who say they want to salvage the deal but refuse to provide real economic relief.
We left the meeting feeling so impressed by the depth of Zarif’s knowledge, his diplomatic skills and his commitment to finding peaceful ways to deal with conflicts – including his efforts to solve the crisis in Yemen. We also left understanding the difficult position he was in, having staked his reputation on the success of the nuclear deal.
So terrible that Iranian foreign minister Javad zarif resigned. Our delegation had just met with him and we were blown away by his brilliance and commitment. This is bad news for Iran and the world. pic.twitter.com/pVpzlkNvqL— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) February 25, 2019
Looking back on the remarkable length of time Foreign Minister Zarif spent with our delegation, it seems that he was pouring his heart out in frustration at the way the international community was thwarting this latest attempt by Iran to be respected in the community of nations.
We will write more about his remarkable talk to our delegation and post a video of his interaction with the delegation in the next hours.
Medea Benjamin is the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange and the author of nine books, including the recently released Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She is the co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience.