It is reported that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s resignation, which came following the leaked tape scandal. A source in Khamenei’s office stated that the Supreme Leader rejected the resignation over fear that Zarif’s resignation would undermine the ongoing talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.
On the other hand, it was claimed that the Supreme Leader “is seriously considering taking the nuclear negotiations file out of the Foreign Ministry and returning it to the Supreme Council for National Security”.
The source also said that Khamenei refrained from accepting the resignation due to the possibility that it would cause overthrowing President Hassan Rouhani’s government as the presidential elections scheduled for June are approaching.
Recently, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made statements regarding the leaked tape. The Supreme Leader considered Zarif’s remarks as a big mistake and said that such statements should not be made by any Iranian official.
Upon his remarks causing controversy in Iran, Javad Zarif issued a message asking for pardon for his statements that are heard in the leaked tape. In addition to his public apology message posted on his Instagram account, he is also reported to have apologized personally to Khamenei through a letter.
Despite the fact that Khamenei rejected Zarif’s resignation, he told Rouhani that this issue had not concluded yet, the source added.