Iranian top official hold Saudi Arabia, Israel responsible for Zarif leaked tape

The Iranian Vice President said that the leak incident came at a “sensitive time,” referring to the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna.

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Iranian Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri commented on the recent leak incident, which revealed controversial statements of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif related to the influence of the IRGC on Iranian diplomacy. According to Iranian local media, Vice-President Jahangiri said that the audio was leaked at a “sensitive time” while the nuclear talks are ongoing in Vienna.

Jahangiri also blamed Saudi Arabia and Israel for the incident. “I think there is an Israeli-Saudi conspiracy behind the audio recording,” he said.

In the leaked tape, it was heard that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that the late commander of the elite Iranian forces, Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in January 2020 by the United States, cooperated with Russia to undermine the Iranian nuclear deal. Zarif also complained about the IRGC’s influence on Iranian diplomacy.

Upon the incident, a top aide of President Hassan Rouhani was replaced with the government spokesperson Ali Rabiei. President Rouhani later ordered a probe to reveal how the audio was leaked. The President also charged the intelligence service to detect agents who might be involved in the leak scandal.

The accusation of the Iranian Vice-President came amid rapprochement signals surfaced both on the Saudi and Iranian side.

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