Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his hope that the family of the former Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and his fans would forgive him if his recent statements caused them harm.
The leak of an audio recording of Zarif in which he talks about the role of the former Revolutionary Guard officer in foreign policy sparked widespread controversy in the Islamic Republic. Read also Controversy and exchange of accusations in Iran after Zarif’s statements were leaked He described it as an “arbitrary killing.” A UN report criticizes the assassination of Soleimani Middle East Eye: Soleimani’s shadow .. How did the general’s death turn Iran’s strategy in Iraq upside down?Biden’s advisor: Soleimani’s killing did not make America more secure and did not stop Iranian provocations
Last Sunday, media outside Iran published the 3-hour recording, in which the Foreign Minister talks about the role played by Soleimani, who was assassinated by an American air strike in Baghdad last year, in his country’s foreign policy, and that the military field takes priority over diplomacy in the Islamic Republic.
In a post on his Instagram account, Zarif said that the leak “hurt the sincere feelings of the fans of the prominent martyr, Major General Qassem Soleimani and his family (…) especially his daughter Zainab, who is so dear to me as my children.”
He added that he forgave everyone who accused him or slandered him, “I hope that the great people of Iran will forgive me as well as all those who love Sardar (the title of senior officers in the guard), especially the noble Soleimani family.”
Zainab Soleimani had published on her Twitter account on Tuesday, an image showing her father’s hand shortly after his assassination near Baghdad Airport on January 3, 2020, by an American air strike, with a comment on “the cost (paid by) the field for the sake of diplomacy!”
Soleimani enjoys a high position in Iran, especially after his assassination, and for many years he commanded the Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guard in charge of foreign operations, and is one of the most prominent architects of the regional policy of the Islamic Republic.
Zarif, who has held his position since 2013, asserted that “the remarks I made (…) do not diminish the indispensable position and role of the martyr Soleimani,” adding, “But if I had known that a word from it would be published publicly, I certainly would not have said it.” Advertising
The recording, which was published 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, sparked criticism from conservatives opposed to the government of President Hassan Rouhani.
“In the Islamic Republic, it is the military field that governs (…) I sacrificed diplomacy for the sake of the military field, instead of serving the diplomatic field,” Zarif said in the recording.
“IRNA” agency reported last Thursday that Hosam Eddin Ashna, director of the Center for Strategic Studies associated with the Iranian presidency, who is close to Rouhani, submitted his resignation after the leak of the dialogue with Zarif that was held at the center.
President Rouhani’s government has requested an investigation into the “conspiracy” to leak the recording.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also warned of “the conspiracies of the enemies who are trying to create a rift in the Iranian internal row,” and stressed that “those who leaked the tape are the enemies of Iran, its people and its interests.”
He said, “One of the pride of the Islamic regime in Iran is that officials freely present their visions … But not everything that is presented is presented to the media, rather many aspects remain as secret documents that the subsequent officials benefit from, because publishing these documents means negatively exploiting them by the enemies.”
Rouhani believed that the release of the tape represented a campaign by hardliners, with the approaching presidential elections scheduled for next June.
He added, “I do not understand why an election campaign is more important to some than the national interests and the welfare of the people?”