Islam News – Iran’s foreign minister asked “forgiveness” from the family of assassinated Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on Sunday, following an audio leak in which he was heard to criticise the disproportionate power the military leader held in the country.
An Iranian opposition media outlet published the three-hour recording of Mohammad Javad Zarif on 25 April, triggering a heated debate ahead of presidential elections and amid talks with world powers in Vienna to revive a nuclear deal.
Later on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticised Zarif, who had said in the audiotape that the elite Revolutionary Guards had more influence in foreign affairs and Tehran’s nuclear dossier than him.
Zarif had also mentioned the significant role played by Soleimani.
Iran’s Rouhani says audio leak seeks to sow ‘discord’ amid nuclear talks “In the Islamic republic the military field rules,” Zarif said in the recording, which was released to the Iran International outlet.
Khamenei, speaking in a televised speech on Sunday, did not call Zarif out by name but said of his comments: “This was a big mistake that must not be made by an official of the Islamic Republic.”
“The Quds Force has been able to put into action the independent policy of the Islamic Republic in the region, which is based on honour,” Khamenei added.
In an Instagram post after Khamenei’s speech, Zarif apologised for comments that had “annoyed” the country’s top authority, who has the last say on all state matters.