Top Iranian official resigns over leaked tape scandal

Iranian President Rouhani’s top aide resigned amid suspicions of his link to the leaked audio of Foreign Minister Zarif.

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It was announced that a top aide of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani resigned upon a growing reaction against a recent leak incident of the Foreign Minister’s interview. The resignation was announced in a statement issued by President Rouhani’s office.

According to the statement, the President’s aide Hesamuddin Ashena was replaced with government spokesperson Ali Rabiei. Hesamuddin Ashena was also head of the Center for Strategic Studies, which is an influential policy group at the presidential office.

Following the leak of an off-the-record interview by Javad Zarif, President Rouhani ordered a probe to find individuals who were involved in this incident. Rouhani also employed the intelligence service to detect agents who might be affiliated with the issue.

The eruption of the leaking scandal initially put a spotlight on the group that interviewed with Foreign Minister Zarif. Ashena was the head of that team. The interview, on the other hand, was made as part of a classified oral history project.

The statement issued by the President’s office also expressed that the new head of the Center for Strategic Studies would be required to prepare reports and plans on domestic and foreign political, economic, social, and cultural issues.

On the other hand, it is expected that Javad Zarif would bear testimony in front of the Iranian parliament’s internal security and foreign affairs commission regarding his statements which were heard in the leaked tape.

The leaked tape caused a great backlash among Iranian lawmakers, demanding the resignation of the Foreign Minister.

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