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Iran president orders probe into leak of FM's discussion

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani makes a statement as he holds a press conference following the Council of Ministers meeting, at the garden of the Sa'dabad Palace, in Tehran, Iran on 17 March 2021. [Iranian Presidency / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran on 17 March 2021 [Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered an investigation into how an audio recording of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in which he can be heard saying the army was too influential in diplomacy, was leaked to the media, a government official said yesterday.

"We believe this theft of documents is a conspiracy against the government, the system, the integrity of effective domestic institutions, and also against our national interests," government spokesman, Ali Rabiei, told reporters.

Rabiei added that the president ordered the intelligence ministry to identify the agents involved in this conspiracy.

Earlier on Sunday, foreign media outlets released a three-hour recording in which Zarif is heard discussing a number of issues including the influential role played by the late Quds Force Commander, Qasem Soleimani, in foreign policy.

He also claims that former US Secretary of State John Kerry provided him information on hundreds of covert Israeli operations in Syria.

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Earlier on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the recording was cut from a seven-hour interview that included Zarif's "personal opinions".

Zarif did not comment on the controversy, but published a brief audio message on Instagram, saying: "I believe you should not work for history … I say that, don't worry about history so much, but worry about God and the people."

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