A behind-the-scenes power struggle of Iranian leaders provides a glimpse into a leaked audiotape, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif saying the Revolutionary Guards Corps called the shots, ignoring several government rulings and ignoring advice.
In an extraordinary moment on tape that surfaced on Sunday, Mr. Zarif, Major General, Qasim Sulemani, Commander of the Guards Elite Cuds Force, departed from the post of Commander of the Foreign-Faced Branch of Iran’s Security System, which was January Killed by the United States in 2020.
The General, Mr. Zarif said, undermined many of the steps he was working on with Russia to sabotage the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and to adopt policies toward Syria’s long war, which damaged Iran’s interests. Transported.
“In the Islamic Republic of the Military Field Rules,” Mr. Zarif said in a three-hour tapped conversation that it was a part of an oral history project documenting the work of the current administration. “I have renounced diplomacy for military territory rather than field diplomacy.”
The audio was leaked at a pivotal moment for Iran, as the country is discussing with the United States and other Western powers the framework for a possible withdrawal of the nuclear deal. Negotiations through middlemen have been taking place in Geneva.
It is unclear what impact, if any, the revelations will have on those talks or on Mr. Zarif’s position.
The recording, a conversation between Mr. Zarif and an economist named Saeed Lialz, was not for publication, a colleague, as the Foreign Minister can be heard repeatedly on audio. A copy was leaked to London-based Persian news channel Iran International, which first reported on the recording and shared it with The New York Times.
At this, Mr. Zarif confirms what many suspect: that his role as a representative of the Islamic Republic on the world stage is severely constricted. Decisions, he said, are decided by the supreme leader or, often by the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran’s foreign ministry did not dispute the authenticity of the recording, but questioned the intent of the leak. A spokesman for the ministry, Saeed Khatibzade, called it “immoral politics” and said that part of the audio released does not represent the full scope of Mr. Zarif’s comments about his respect and love for Mr. Surifani.
In the leaked parts, Mr. Zarif praises the general and says that they worked together for the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He also states that by killing him in Iraq, the United States gave Iran a major blow, even more damaging as it wiped out the entire city in one attack.
But he said some of Mr. Suleimani’s actions have harmed the country, as an example, his move against the nuclear deal reached against Iran in 2015 with Western countries, the United States (after the Trump administration Abandoned it in).
Mr. Zarif said that Russia did not want the agreement to succeed and put “all its weight” behind creating obstacles because it was not in Moscow’s interests for Iran to normalize relations with the West . To that end, Mr. Zarif said, General Suleimani traveled to Russia to “demolish our achievement”, which means a nuclear agreement.
Mr. Zarif took issue with General Suleimani on other fronts, criticizing him for allowing Russian warplanes to bomb Syria to bomb Iran, and without the government’s knowledge and military aircraft stationed on Iran’s state-run airline And personnel were taken to Syria. Iranian ground army for Syria.
By Sunday night, Mr Zarif’s critics were calling for his resignation, saying he had threatened Iran’s national security by exposing the country’s internal politics to the world. Even his supporters expressed concern that the comments could affect the presidential elections at the end of June and harm the reform faction’s candidates, which reinforced Mr. Zarif voter’s apathy and the idea It has happened that elected officials are not really in charge.
The leak follows a series of security breaches within Iran’s intelligence and government circles that have been implicated at the Natzan nuclear site in two murders and two explosions. A former vice president, Mohammed Ali Abathi, said the publication of Mr Zarif’s audio was a “dictatorship to Israel stealing nuclear documents” from Iran.
Some analysts said the audio would reduce Iranian diplomats’ authority over the sensitive window of negotiations.
“This tied the hands of the negotiators,” said Sina Azodi, a noncommissioning fellow at the Atlantic Council. “It represents Zarif as a man who is not trustworthy domestically, and overall a picture that Iran’s foreign policy is dictated by the military’s theater policies and Zarif is nonexistent.”
Mr. Zarif admitted on tape that when it comes to negotiations, he is bound not by the instructions of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but by the demands of the guards. He said Mr Khamenei had recently “forcefully reprimanded” him for straying officially when he said Iran was ready to step in to choreograph a return to an agreement with the United States.
“The structure of our foreign ministry is mostly security-oriented,” Mr. Zarif said.
Mr Zarif said he was kept in the dark over government actions – sometimes to his embarrassment.
The night Iran decided to retaliate against the United States for the assassination of General Suleimani, two Quds force commanders went to see the Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, informing them that in about 45 minutes Iran had a The missile will fire. Mr. Zarif said that the military base where American soldiers were stationed. The Americans knew about it even before they went on strike.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry informed him that Israel attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, much to his surprise, Mr. Zarif said.
He also pointed to the cover-up of guards downing a Ukrainian jetliner in Iran, which killed 176 after Iran attacked the airport in the morning.
The guards were immediately aware that their missiles had hit the aircraft, but were admitted only three days later.
Soon after taking the plane down, Mr. Zarif attended a short meeting of the National Security Council with two top military commanders, and said that the world was seeking clarification. Commanders said, they attacked him and said that he would send a tweet to tell them that the news was not true.
“I said, ‘If it was hit by a missile, tell us so we can see how we can resolve it,” Mr. Zero said. “God is my witness, the way he has reacted to me, as if I have denied the existence of God.”