Iranian conservatives call for Zarif's execution following audio-leak
There have been calls from Iranian conservatives for Zarif, a career diplomat who was heard bemoaning the power of Iranian military leaders in the recording, to be put on trial and executed.
The recording was a three-hour interview with Zarif intended for an oral history project but it was published last week by the London-based opposition outlet Iran International.
In the interview, Zarif said that the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) runs all aspects of Iranian foreign policy, complaining about his own inability to infuence events.
He added that Qasem Soleimani ran an independent policy in Syria and would use IranAir flights to transport fighters and equipment to the war-torn country, also saying that the IRGC commander, who was killed in a 2020 airstrike, colluded with Russia to disrupt the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal which Iran reached with world powers.
"My diplomacy always paid the price for the military activities of the Martyr Qasem Soleimani and it was not vice versa," he said in the leaked interview, which was conducted by Saeed Leelaz
On Thursday, Hussamuddin Ashna, the head of the Iranian presidency's Centre for Strategic Studies, which commissioned the interview, resigned and was replaced with government spokesman Ali Rabaie.
On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the interview was leaked to sow "discord" during talks in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which former US President Donald Trump pulled out of.
Rouhani said the audio was leaked just as the Vienna talks were "at the height of their success, so that it creates discord inside" Iran.