Iran’s Foreign Minister regrets a riot over a leaked audio recording criticizing the powerful Revolutionary Guard. According to Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, this has a significant influence on his country’s foreign policy.
Zarif made several sensitive statements in the candid private conversation. For example, he suggested that the powerful General Qassem Soleimani (1957-2020) had sabotaged the nuclear deal that Iran concluded with the international community. The minister also noted that Russia did not want the nuclear deal to succeed because it does not want Iranian rapprochement with the West.
London-based news channel Iran International had gotten their hands on the audio and published about it on Sunday. Zarif’s statements subsequently fell badly with conservative Iranians. The minister was accused in the media of committing character murder on Soleimani, who was killed by the United States early last year.
The Iranian government wants to find out who passed the conversation on to the media. Moreover, that happened at a sensitive time. Iran will hold presidential elections in June and is currently negotiating with the international community to revive the nuclear deal.
The minister responded to the uproar, saying his “honest and passionate” plea has been falsely interpreted as “personal criticism”. Zarif said he advocates a “smart adjustment” of the relationship between the military and diplomats. With that, he seems to be holding on to the critical message from the leaked discussion.
It is still unclear whether the affair has consequences for the position of the minister. He has also been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, although he himself said he was not interested in it. The Corps of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was created as the shock troops of the conservative Shia clergy regime. It has grown into a power that plays a dominant role militarily, economically and politically.