Posted 4 months ago
A leaked audio recording of Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, has offered a rare look into the politics within Iran. In the leaked audio the politician offered a blunt, unfiltered, appraisal of diplomacy and the limits of power within the Islamic Republic. Zarif has been suggested as a possible candidate for Iran's June 18 presidential election, but his words set off a firestorm within Iran.
In the interview, Zarif describes Russia as wanting to stop the nuclear deal, something apparently so sensitive that he warns the interviewer: “You definitely can never release this part.” “If Iran hadn’t become Mr. (Donald) Trump’s priority, China and Russia would have become his priority,” Zarif said. “If, because of hostility with the West, we always need Russia and China, they don’t have to compete with anyone, and also they can always enjoy maximum benefits through us.”
In the interview, Zarif repeated an earlier claim by officials around Rouhani that they had not been told by the Revolutionary Guard that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in January 2020, killing all 176 people on board.
The recordings also include Zarif offering criticism of former Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani's, who was assassinated by a US drone strike in 2020 separate, relations with Russia as well. “I have sacrificed diplomacy for the battlefield more than the price that (those on) the battlefield (led by Soleimani) ... paid and sacrificed for diplomacy,” Zarif said. He added that Iran gave up much of what it “could have achieved from the nuclear deal” for the sake of advancement on the battlefield. Zarif also took issue with the Soleimani's use of the national carrier Iran Air for Syrian operations. However he did acknowledge Soleimani's importance to Iran saying: “I believe that the U.S. by hitting Martyr Soleimani dealt a blow to Iran that would not have been as bad even if they had hit one of our towns,”
After the leak became public, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh did not dispute the tape's authenticity. He told journalists on Monday that the recording represented just a portion of a seven-hour interview Zarif gave to a well-known economist that was to be held for posterity by a think tank associated with the Iranian presidency.
Khatibzadeh called the release of the recording “illegal” and described it as “selectively” edited.
Topic: World News
Tags: Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif Qassem Soleimani