A leaked audio recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sparked widespread controversy in the country. This made the State Department consider them just “personal stances.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatib Zadeh said in a press conference, Monday, that the leak is “true and it is a dialogue within the routine meetings within the government,” according to the American “Associated Press” agency.
On the other hand, he stressed that the leak is a “personal opinion” of Zarif, noting that what was published was “three and a half hours” of a conversation that spanned “seven hours.”
In the recording, excerpts of which were published by the American “New York Times” newspaper, Zarif talks about several issues. Most notably the wide role that Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, played in Iranian politics.
He said during the recording that Soleimani “worked closely with Russia to oppose the agreement on the nuclear program that was concluded between Tehran and the major powers in 2015, after difficult negotiations in which Zarif was the most prominent representative of Iran.”
Also in the recording, Zarif said that “the military in Iran is ruling.”
The leaked statements sparked criticism from conservative politicians, especially as they affected Soleimani, who is considered one of the most prominent architects of Iranian regional policy and enjoys a great position, especially after his assassination by an American airstrike last year.
For many years, Soleimani commanded the “Quds Force” assigned to the foreign operations of the Revolutionary Guards and was assassinated in an American raid near Baghdad Airport at dawn on January 3, 2020.
Until 12:39 (GMT), there was no comment from the Iranian Foreign Minister about the leak.