Iran's Foreign Minister, Alum Mohammad Javad Zarif, an Enigma to Many

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
BLOOMBERG -- “Zarif is the most effective diplomat Iran has had since the 1979 revolution,” said Karim Sadjapour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “That said, Zarif offers an unrealistic portrait of the Iranian government because if the men who controlled power in Tehran all thought like Zarif, there would have been a U.S.-Iran rapprochement decades ago.” Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former CIA officer, sees it differently. “He’s an Islamic Revolutionary,” he said. “Revolutionaries come in a number of models and Zarif is the expatriate, mild-mannered model” who rejects the values of the West. He portrays himself as having a sheltered life — the family gardener escorted him to the school bus and he was not allowed to visit classmates at home. In 1977, with the help of a family friend, he avoided the draft and left for a prep school in San Francisco, enrolling later at San Francisco State.