In a meeting with a group of Iranian social media and virtual space activists, held in Tehran on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Zarif said he had offered his resignation in February because he felt he was not being considered as a “brand of Iran”.
“If I had intended to make the brand of Zarif, I would have easily gotten the Nobel Peace Prize,” the minister explained, saying he had the highest points on the shortlist for the prize for two consecutive years.
Zarif said he could have won the Nobel Prize by pursuing his own brand and representing himself as an individual with a viewpoint that could be eliminated.
“We in the Foreign Ministry are duty bound to preserve the brand of Iran, not an individual, and ideology or an organization,” he explained.
Zarif further highlighted the great efforts put into hammering out the 2015 nuclear deal, saying, “I’m not an advocate of the JCPOA. I am an advocate of the Islamic Republic of Iran. If I defend the interests of the JCPOA, I’ll have to give concessions, but when I defend the interests of the Islamic Republic, we can obtain concessions from the foreign powers.”
Zarif said more than $80 billion in foreign investment had been attracted after achievement of the JCPOA, but less than only $5 billion came into Iran, noting that it was not the Foreign Ministry’s fault.
He also noted that the Foreign Ministry has done its best to enhance Iran’s trade with the foreign countries.
“I take 70 merchants to (foreign) trips with me and arrange meetings for them in there. The friends accompanying me in the trips have seen that we take the merchants and business people, and they make contracts and sign memoranda of understanding. But I cannot change the fact that in order for a memorandum of understanding to become operational in Iran, they (businessmen) will have to try for three years,” he added.