Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif facing more pressure despite apology

Iran’s Supreme Leader slams Zarif over leaked recordings in which the minister criticized military interference in his diplomacy.

By World Israel News Staff

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is facing mounting pressure following the release of an audio recording in which he harshly criticizes interference in diplomacy by Iran’s military, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Tuesday.

In the recording released last week by unknown sources in Iran, Zarif is heard complaining about the influence Iran’s military and especially assassinated Gen. Qassem Soleimani exerted on his diplomatic work.

He also revealed that former Secretary of State John Kerry revealed to him privileged information about Israel’s attacks in Syria, an issue of little consequence to Iran’s leaders but which caused Kerry some discomfiture in the States.

Despite a public apology for his remarks, Zarif came under fire from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who called Zarif’s comments a “big mistake.”

In a televised address, Khamenei accused Zarif of using the “words of the enemy” in his criticism of Soleimani, the revered commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, who was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in January of 2020.

“The country’s policies are made of different economic, military, social, scientific and cultural plans, including foreign relations and diplomacy,” Khamenei said, emphasizing that any contradiction by officials “is a big mistake that must not be perpetrated by officials of the Islamic Republic.”

Following Khamenei’s speech, Zarif sent out a renewed apology on social media saying he regretted his “personal comments that weren’t meant to be published” and said leader Khamenei’s orders on foreign policy were the “final word.”

In the three-hour recording, Zarif is heard complaining about the powerful Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps and how Soleimani 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

Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the audio of Zarif was leaked as part of a “conspiracy” timed to sow discord in Iran just as talks in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal were “at the height of their success.”

Rouhani said Iran’s Intelligence Ministry “must do its best to find out how this tape was stolen, and publish a report to the people.”

“There will be no mercy for those who made a mistake on this,” Rouhani added.