Iran’s Foreign Minister apologized on Sunday for recorded comments that were leaked to the public last week, creating a firestorm in Iran less than two months before presidential elections.
The recordings of Mohammad Javad Zarif included frank comments on powerful late Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020. The attack at the time brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war. Soleimani’s funeral processions in Iran drew millions of people to the streets.
In the recordings, Mr. Zarif criticises Soleimani’s separate relations with Russia and his refusal to stop using the national carrier Iran Air for Syrian operations despite Mr. Zarif’s objections. Iran Air has been sanctioned by the U.S.
Mr. Zarif said in an Instagram post on Sunday he hoped Soleimani’s family would forgive him. “I hope that the great people of Iran and all the lovers of General (Soleimani) and especially the great family of Soleimani, will forgive me,” he said.
Mr. Zarif’s leaked comments were highly controversial in Iran, where officials mind their words amid a cut-throat political environment.