On Wednesday Iran’s top diplomat expressed regret that a recording leaked out of him making frank comments about the limits of his power in the Islamic Republic, while the country’s president describing the incident as a means to derail ongoing talks with world powers over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal.
Posting to his Instagram account, Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his first public comments about the recording, which caused a political firestorm across Iran ahead of the country’s June 18 presidential election. While Zarif has said he does not want to run in the election, some have suggested him as a potential candidate to stand against hard-liners in the vote.
Zarif’s post included video of him at a memorial in Baghdad for Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top commander in Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Zarif’s leaked remarks included cutting references to the limits of his power and Soleimani’s decisions overriding his priorities at the Foreign Ministry.
“I am very sorry how a secret, theoretical discussion about the necessity of increasing cooperation between diplomacy and the field (the Guard) — in order for the next officials to use the valuable experiences of the last eight years — became an internal conflict,” Zarif wrote.