It seems that the snowball that has rolled over the past days, after the leak of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s interview, is still baffling the government in Iran.
Ali Rabiei, a government spokesman, announced Tuesday that the authorities had not yet figured out how to “steal” Zarif’s audio file.
He also added that this file, which has sparked and continues to spark widespread controversy in the country, despite the minister’s apologies, was sent to the National Security Council, for study and investigation.
The representative of the Iranian guide in the Revolutionary Guards, Abdullah Haji Sadeghi, considered yesterday, Monday, that the publication of the interview, which was recorded last March, and which was not scheduled to be broadcast at the present time, is a “planned step.”
He also considered that the minister’s statements about Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, “will never be forgotten.” He added, in an interview with the Revolutionary Guards’ political ideological guidance forces, via the Internet, that Zarif’s statements were “baseless and incorrect.”
Khamenei criticizes “a big mistake”
On Sunday, Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei, in turn, considered that some of what was said by the foreign minister was a “big mistake,” after a week of leaked audio, during which Zarif spoke about the priority of the military field at the expense of diplomacy in the country’s politics, complaining about Soleimani’s grip.
As Khamenei said in a televised speech, “The country’s policies consist of economic, military, social, scientific and cultural plans, including foreign and diplomatic relations.”
He added, “We heard comments from some country officials that were a cause of surprise and regret. We heard that hostile media also published these comments,” adding that “some of these statements were a repeat of hostile comments by the enemies,” especially the United States.
An executive role for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In addition, the country’s guide, who has the final say in strategic policies, stressed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not alone in determining the country’s foreign policy. “Foreign policy everywhere is determined by institutions higher than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said, “because prominent officials are the ones who determine foreign policy. Of course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also participates.”
For his part, Zarif, after Khamenei’s speech, hastened to assert that the leader’s remarks “are always the final cut-off point for discussions of experts.”
In a post on his Instagram account attached to a photo of Khamenei, he expressed his regret that “some of his private opinions were secretly published and selectively exploited” by the opponents of his country.
It is noteworthy that the publication of the recording came less than two months before the presidential elections and in light of discussions with major international powers to revive the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, of which Zarif was the most prominent engineer.
And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously confirmed that the recording was taken from a seven-hour conversation, and it was part of the documentation of Rouhani’s reign, which is approaching the completion of two consecutive terms in the presidency.