Khamenei Slams Zarif's Leaked Remarks As 'Regrettable, Surprising Big Error'
In a much anticipated and much advertised speech on the Iranian state television, the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei referred to Foreign Minister Moahmmad Javad Zarif’s leaked audio recording, without mentioning his name, calling the remarks "a big error," that was "regrettable and surprising."
Meanwhile he briefly touched upon the issue of the upcoming presidential election and warned candidates not to promise anything they cannot deliver or anything that is not allowed by the constitution.
In all, he dedicated only 10 minutes of his 55-minute-long speech to the two issues and ignored the indirect talks between Iran and the United States over returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran International reported and then published a three-hour-long interview by Zarif on April 25, that was supposedly not for publication. In the tape, Zarif strongly criticized former Qods (Quds) Force commander Qasem Soleimani for hijacking Iran’s foreign policy. Soleimani was killed ina US drone strike in January 2020.
Referring to Zarif's remarks about the IRGC and Soleimani, Khamenei said: "Some of the country's officials have made remarks in recent days that were both surprising and regrettable."
He said, "the remarks that were broadcast on hostile media are not consistent with the official's position. Some of these remarks were simply the repetition of hostile remarks made by the enemies and echoed the America's positions."
"This was a big mistake that should not have been committed by an Islamic Republic official. The enemies are annoyed by the Qods Force's influence in the region," and one part of the political system should not undermine the other part, Khamenei said.
He further stressed: "I wish to make it known that nowhere in the world the foreign ministry determines foreign policy. There are higher ranking officials beyond the foreign ministry and they make the decisions and policies. The foreign ministry simply carries out those policies."
He also made it clear that in Iran "The Supreme Council of national Security makes the policies and the foreign ministry carries out those policies although it might also play a part in policy making. However, policy making in foreign affairs is not limited to the foreign ministry."
In the leaked tape, Zarif accused Soleimani of undermining the Foreign Ministry and intervening in foreign policy and taking orders from Moscow.
Speaking on the June presidential election, Khamenei called on all the officials and politicians to avoid dissuading the people from going to the polls by attacking government officials and the authority of the election watchdog, the Guardian Council.
He was possibly to the widespread campaigns on social media by Iranian activists who encourage Iranians to boycott the elections as they will not change the fate of the country.
Meanwhile, he said that the election should not be ruined by making useless and often deceptive promises. Instead, those who want to take run should offer their plans to the people.
He further insisted that all previous elections were healthy and there has never been a flaw that led to a change in the result of the elections. About the disputed results of the 2009 presidential election, he said the accusations against that election's organizers were unfair and creating social disturbances after the election was a criminal offense.