The Iranian government has stated that an inquiry has been placed into the “conspiracy” of leaked audio in which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are too powerful in statesmanship.
The spokesman said, President Hassan Rouhani ordered the investigation to identify who leaked the “stolen” three-hour-long recording by top diplomat and member of his moderate government Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The tape, which comes before the presidential elections in June, has overshadowed the discussion in the Islamic republic for its publication by media outlets outside Iran on Sunday.
“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.
“The president has ordered the intelligence ministry to identify the agents of this conspiracy,” he added.
He said, without further elaboration that the file was “stolen for clear reasons”.
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh did not deny the authenticity of the recording but said on Monday that it was cut from a seven-hour interview that included “personal opinions”.
Zarif did not talk anything about the controversy, but published on Tuesday 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”.
He did not define when he recorded this message.
The leaked remarks sparked severe criticism from conservative media and politicians, with the mention of Iran’s slain general Qasem Soleimani hitting a nerve.
Soleimani, considered one of the famous architects of Iranian regional policy, was killed early last year in an American drone strike in Baghdad, ordered by former US President Donald Trump.
The leak and inquiry come before the presidential elections on June 18, which will see the average Rouhani step down after two terms in office and after conservatives fared well in parliamentary elections last year