Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a direct apology to Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his recorded comments leaked to the public last month.
“I am so sorry that some of my personal viewpoints, that were expressed solely for the honest transmission of experiences and with no intention of publishing, were stolen, published and selectively exploited as a means of hostility by the ill-wishers of the country, the people and the Revolution and saddened the Leader,” Zarif wrote in an Instagram post.
The statement came after Ayatollah Khamenei in a televised speech on Sunday criticized Zarif for “wrongful” remarks about Iran’s foreign policy and the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
The Leader voiced regret and surprise at the leaked comments in which Zarif said Iran’s foreign policy had been “sacrificed” in favor of the military field. The Leader called the IRGC’s Quds Force “the biggest effective factor that prevents [enactment of] a passive diplomacy in the West Asia region”.
He refrained from calling out Zarif by name but described his comments “a big mistake that must not be made by an official of the Islamic Republic”, noting that the leaked comments “are a repetition of what Iran’s enemies say”.
Therefore, “one should not talk in a way that causes foreigners’ remarks to occur to the mind,” he said.
A Foreign Ministry’s job is to execute policies set out by superior bodies and officials, the Leader noted, adding: “Nowhere in the world does the Foreign Ministry determine foreign policy.”
The Leader’s remarks “are, as always, the final say on all matters for me and my colleagues,” Zarif said. “As an expert in foreign relations, I always believe that foreign policy should be managed and guided by the superior,” he said.
Zarif repeated that the leaked conversation was never meant for release and expressed remorse for departing from Iran’s official line, noting that “following the Leader’s suggestions and decisions is an undeniable necessity”.
Zarif’s Instagram apology followed an earlier one to the family of Quds Force’s former commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq last year.