Zarif Leaks: Is the Iranian FM Not on the Same Page with Khamenei?

Published April 26th, 2021 - 08:26 GMT
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Zarif is one of the potential candidates for Iran's presidency. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

A recent audiotape of a several-hour interview with the Iranian Foreign Minister has stirred controversy, as Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed criticism of the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Even though Zarif's political and diplomatic career has always portrayed him as a hard-core defender of Iran's policies, the recently leaked tape that was published by Iran International has provided a different angle of dynamics inside the Iranian government.

In the interview which was conducted by Iranian economist Saeed Laylaz last March, Zarif expresses his dissatisfaction with how "certain security figures control everything in Iran," particularly speaking about diplomatic roles he says "have been painted with the security brush." 

According to experts, Zarif might be referring to the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has witnessed a growing regional and international role in recent years, most notably in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

He also talked about "constant interventions" by the former leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani in his diplomatic role as the country's foreign minister.

Zarif also highlighted that Soleimani's visit to Moscow in 2015 aimed to "undermine his diplomatic achievement sealing the Iranian nuclear pact with Western powers," adding that he "had to sacrifice diplomacy to support military endeavors after the Supreme Leader asked him to." 

Even though leaking these parts of the interview has been linked to the upcoming presidential elections next June, ones where Zarif is expected to be one of the potential candidates, the Foreign Minister responded to the leaked tape, saying that the experts were "cut out of context."

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