After the ceremony of the inauguration (August 4th, 2013), comes the choosing of the new cabinet. According to Reuters, sources close to the new president’s office are signalling that Mohammad Javad Zarif will either be nominated as the Foreign Minister, or another senior post in the foreign policy team.
A fluent English speaker with a doctorate from Denver University, fifty three year old Mohammad Zarif is well known in senior diplomatic circles. From 1992 to 2002 he was Iran’s deputy foreign minister and played a crucial role in setting up the new Afghan government after the defeat of the Taliban. According to US diplomat James Dobbins:
‘Zarif had achieved the final breakthrough without which the (Hamid) Karzai government might never have been formed."
From 2002 to 2007 Zarif was Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations with a reputation for wanting to normalize relations between his country and the West. He is reputed to be the author of Tehran’s ‘Grand Bargain’ of 2003 which sought to normalize Iran’s relationship with Washington*.
It is in everyone’s interest, including Christians in Iran, that the West and Iran enjoy normal relations. Mohammad Zarif could play a crucial role in this; as can our prayers.