Tehran, Iran – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly criticized the top Iranian diplomat for his comments on internal power struggles in a controversial leaked soundtrack last week.
Khamenei said during a televised speech on Sunday that he was “surprised and sorry” to hear Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments recently Major General Qassem Soleimanipower and influence, without directly naming the diplomat.
“Some of these comments are the repetition of the hostile conversations of our enemies, the repetition of the words of America,” he said, noting that the anti-Iranian media threw the tape.
More than three hours of what was supposed to be a seven-hour confidential government oral history project were broadcast on the London-based Iran International channel, funded by Saudi Arabia.
On the tape, Zarif said he had to do it repeatedly “Sacrifice” diplomacy as far as “the camp” is concerned: it denotes operations and policies driven by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and specifically its Quds foreign force led by Soleimani until its assassination in the United States last year.
Zarif also says Soleimani traveled to Russia to sabotage the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with world powers shortly after signing it and complains that he was left in the dark on many issues, including Iranian operations in Syria and Iraq.
Khamenei on Sunday referred to U.S. constant opposition to Iran’s growing influence in the region, saying that’s why former President Donald Trump ordered The murder of Soleimani through a drone strike in January 2020 in Baghdad.
“We should not say things that convey the meaning that we are repeating what they say, either to the Quds force or to the martyr Soleimani,” the supreme leader said.
He also stated that, like anywhere else in the world, Iran’s foreign policy is not drawn up by the foreign ministry, but only enforced.
This duty in Iran, he said, rests with the Supreme National Security Council, made up of high-level officials from different governance factions.
The end of Zarif?
Khamenei’s statements will no doubt further encourage tough leaders who have been unstoppable in assaulting the foreign minister (and the government) and demanding his resignation.
Although it seems unlikely that Zarif will resign, especially since his term ends in a few months and he speaks there. restore the nuclear deal are underway in Vienna, the supreme leader’s rebuke overshadows his future in Iranian politics.
The foreign minister, a relatively popular figure among the weakened centrist and reformist factions, has repeatedly said he has no ambitions to run in the upcoming June presidential election.
The career diplomat had previously said he might be interested in continuing to serve in the foreign ministry or else he would retire to a university teaching role.
Earlier Sunday, Zarif apologized to Soleimani’s family for the harm he may have caused and said his “honest” words to future officials do not remove anything from Soleimani’s efforts to keep Iran and the region safe.
In an online post days earlier, he had said his comments were not a personal critique of Soleimani, whom he credited with trying to establish peace in Afghanistan and Iraq and fight the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.
Zarif posted another online post after Khamenei’s speech, in which he said the supreme leader’s statements are the end point of all discussions and regrets that his comments meant as “honest transfer of experiences” were leaked. and disturb the tranquility of Khamenei.
President Rouhani had said earlier this week that the leak of the soundtrack was an attempt to sow the division of the country’s enemies to sabotage multilateral efforts in the Austrian capital to lift sanctions on Iran and curb the country’s nuclear program.
Rouhani ordered his intelligence ministry to find out who leaked the tape and similar efforts are being made in justice and parliament.
The president also fired Hesamodin Ashna, his adviser and head of the Center for Strategic Studies of the presidential offices, as he was in charge of organizing the interview with Zarif.