Calls in Iran for Zarif’s resignation after he criticizes Revolutionary Guard

In leaked audio recording, Iran’s Foreign Minister criticized the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and disparaged assassinated general Soleimani.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Opponents of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were calling for his resignation following the publication of leaked audio tapes in which Zarif criticized the interference of Iran’s powerful military in the country’s foreign diplomacy, the New York Times reported Sunday.

In the three-hour recording, Zarif is heard complaining about the powerful Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and how assassinated General Qassem Soleimani, revered in Iran, rode roughshod over Zarif’s attempts to steer Iran on a diplomatic path.

“Every time I went to negotiation, Soleimani was the one saying I want you to get this advantage or point,” Zarif complained in a section of the audio published by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Zarif said that Soleimani undermined him on many fronts and complained that rather than diplomacy representing Iran’s interests, “in the Islamic Republic the military field rules.”

“I have sacrificed diplomacy for the military field rather than the field servicing diplomacy,” Zarif complained.

With the recording proving that Iran’s diplomatic efforts are compromised by the military, the IRNA news agency reported that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh did not deny the recording was authentic, but said the classified discussion was “illegally” published to try and influence the upcoming elections in Iran.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing a wave that is an interpretation of foreign policy in line with election goals,” Khatibzadeh said.

While Zarif at times praised Soleimani, he also said some of the general’s actions had damaged the country. Those comments led to calls for his resignation by those who said he had threatened Iran’s national security “by revealing to the world the country’s inner politics,” the Times reported.

A former Iranian vice president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, said the publication of the Zarif audio was “tantamount to Israel stealing the nuclear documents” from Iran, the report noted.

Zarif pointed out numerous instances when he found out about events after the military, including hundreds of Israeli airstrikes on Syria – saying he was updated by then Secretary of State John Kerry and not the IRGC – and the 2020 shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner regarding which the military knew right away it was guilty but admitted responsibility three days later.

At a meeting immediately following the airliner disaster, two top military commanders told Zarif to send out a tweet saying the news was not true.

“I said, ‘If it was hit by a missile, tell us so we can see how we can resolve it,’” Zarif recalled. “God is my witness, the way they reacted to me is as if I had denied the existence of God.”