(Wikipedia) - Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari (Persian: محمدجواد ظریف خوانساری, born 7 January 1960) is an Iranian diplomat, academic and current Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has held various significant diplomatic and cabinet posts since the 1990s.
Zarif is also a visiting professor at the School of International Relations and University of Tehran, teaching diplomacy and international organizations. He was the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations from 2002 to 2007. Zarif has held other domestic and international positions as well: adviser and senior adviser to the Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister in Legal and International affairs, member of the prominent personalities of the Dialogue Among Civilizations, Head of the UN Disarmament Committee in New York, member of the prominent personalities of global governance, and Deputy in International Affairs of the Islamic Azad University. Contents
Early life and education
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Initial missions in US
- 3 Representative at UN
- 4 Minister of Foreign Affairs
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Zarif was born on 7 January 1960 in Tehran. According to The New Republic, Zarif is born to an "affluent, religiously devout and politically conservative merchant family in Tehran". He was educated at the Alavi School, a private religious institution.
Zarif was shielded from TV, radio, and newspapers by his parents as a youth. Instead, he became exposed to revolutionary ideas by reading the books of Ali Shariati and Samad Behrangi.
At age 17, he left Iran for the United States. Zarif attended Drew College Preparatory School, a private college-preparatory high school located in San Francisco, California. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, from which he gained a BA in International Relations in 1981 and an MA in the same subject in 1982. Following this, Zarif continued his studies at the Graduate School of International Studies (now named the Joseph Korbel School of International Studies) at the University of Denver, from which he obtained a second MA in International Relations in 1984 and this was followed by a PhD in International Law and Policy in 1988. His thesis was entitled: "Self-Defense in International Law and Policy". Initial missions in US
Zarif was appointed a member of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations in May 1982—largely due to his English-speaking ability and relationships in America, rather than formal diplomatic training. As a junior diplomat Zarif was involved in negotiations to win the release of U.S. hostages held by pro-Iranian gunmen in Lebanon, according to the memoirs of former United Nations envoy Giandomenico Picco. Even though the United States did not make a promised reciprocal goodwill gesture at the time, Zarif remained committed to improving ties.
In 2000, Zarif served as chairman of the Asian preparatory meeting of the World Conference on Racism and as the chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. Zarif was also professor of international law at the University of Tehran. He served as the vice president of Islamic Azad University in charge of foreign affairs from 2010 to 2012 under Abdollah Jasbi. He has served on the board of editors of a number of scholarly journals, including the Iranian Journal of International Affairs and Iranian Foreign Policy, and has written extensively on disarmament, human rights, international law, and regional conflicts. Representative at UNAs Iran''s representative at the United Nations
He served as Iran''s representative at the United Nations from 2002 to 2007. He was closely linked with developing the so-called "Grand Bargain," a plan to resolve outstanding issues between the U.S. and Iran in 2003. Zarif, during his time at the UN, held private meetings with a number of Washington politicians, including the then-Senators Joseph Biden and Chuck Hagel. Zarif resigned from office on 6 July 2007. He was succeeded by Mohammad Khazaee in the post.
In 2007, Zarif was a headline speaker at an American Iranian Council conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey including Chuck Hagel, Dennis Kucinich, Nicholas Kristof, and Anders Liden to discuss Iranian-American relations, and potential ways to increase dialogue and avoid conflict. Minister of Foreign AffairsZarif shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry, 14 July 2014.
On 23 July 2013, It was reported that Zarif is Rouhani''s choice for minister of foreign affairs. This was not confirmed by the president-elect''s office until 4 August when Rouhani officially nominated Zarif for the position to the Parliament. He was confirmed by the Parliament with 232 votes, replacing Ali Akbar Salehi in the position.
He welcomed the first visit by a foreign leader to Iran since Rouhani assumed the presidency ten days after his approval as Foreign Minister with the arrival of Oman''s sultan, Qaboos bin Said Al Said. Stories spread that there was a secret agenda to his meetings with Iranian officials, involving claims that he came to convey messages from the United States and then to relay Iran''s response to White House officials. On 5 September 2013, having congratulated the Rosh Hashana, Zarif said on Twitter that Iran does not deny the Holocaust, distancing the government from the often belligerent stances by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Genuineness of Zarif''s tweeting in English was confirmed by CNN''s Christiane Amanpour. On 27 September 2013, he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during P5+1 and Iran summit. It was the highest-level direct contact between the United States and Iran in last six years. After the meeting, Kerry said that "We had a constructive meeting, and I think all of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us, which was very different in tone and very different in the vision that he held out with respect to possibilities of the future."
After the breakup of talks on 12 November, Zarif rejected John Kerry''s claim that Iran had been unable to accept the deal "at that particular moment". He said "no amount of spinning" could change what had happened in Geneva, but it could "further erode confidence". Zarif appeared to blame France for "gutting over half" of a US draft deal. Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 - met again on 20 November. Geneva Agreement Main article: Geneva interim agreement on Iranian nuclear programJavad Zarif and Catherine Ashton
On 21 November it was reported by Iranian negotiators that progress was being made in talks in Geneva with world powers, expressing hope to bridge differences and sign an elusive deal over Tehran''s nuclear drive. "Differences of opinion remain and we are negotiating over them. God willing we will reach a result," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in statements carried by Iranian media, after a one-hour meeting with Baroness Ashton. On 24 November 2013, the Geneva interim agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action, was a pact signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consists of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran''s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement. Personal life
Zarif is married and has a daughter and a son who were born in the US. He met his wife in summer 1979 through his sister. They married in Iran but moved to New York within several weeks in the midst of the Iranian revolution. In addition to his native Persian, he is fluent in English.