Last month, a leaked three-hour-long audiotape — presumed to be part of a lengthier, seven-hour one — of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif revealed a strange conversation with the minister, who delved into various topics. The tape spread even more after the bombing of the Iranian Natanz reactor, which hinted that there was more to it than what met the eye: What we currently know might not be the whole truth.
The context in which Zarif mentioned former US Secretary of State John Kerry was illogical. Why did Kerry tell him that Israel carried out 200 airstrikes to target Iranian sites in Syria? It is unusual for the US to use Israel as a negotiating card, especially in the nuclear agreement with Iran. It is likewise strange that Zarif kept silent during the administration of Donald Trump and waited instead for the Democrats to come back before making his dangerous confessions.
At the outset, it must be acknowledged that Zarif is accepted in Europe and the US as he is one of the names nominated by the reformist and moderate currents to succeed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the presidential elections scheduled this year. This means that the timing of the leaks was not random. On the other hand, the Iranian foreign minister harshly criticized Qassem Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guards and their interference in Iranian political decision-making.
The beneficiaries of Zarif’s leaks are many. Russia, for example, wants the nuclear agreement with Iran to take place without the US in order to impose its own options. Additionally, it maintains good relations with the conservatives and Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei. Russia was among Soleimani’s favorite destinations,
if not his favorite. In this context, those close to Rouhani’s government are accused of providing coordinates that helped the US in targeting Soleimani. The first nuclear agreement with former US President Barack Obama helped provide Iran with revenues of $400 billion. Tehran invested $100 billion of this amount toward strengthening its influence in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Africa.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and former US Secretary of State John Kerry are threatened with expulsion from political life in their countries unless they take advantage of their long political experience and rhetorical eloquence.
Dr. Bader bin Saud
Kerry, at a later stage in his daughter’s marriage to an Iranian Muslim physician and during his term as secretary of state, used the Department of State’s Twitter account and referred to the Arabian Gulf as the Persian Gulf. Obama did not care about Iran’s responsibility for the movements of Daesh in Iraq and the Levant and continued to accuse others of these actions. Biden also practices similar behavior in his view of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen. Despite the Houthi rejection of the Saudi reform initiative, Biden is still blind to the facts on the ground and insists on holding others responsible for what is happening. It appears that this is a doctrine of the Democrats in the US.
Zarif risks facing execution or having his news cut off, as is the case with former Iranian presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammed Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the list goes on. It is only possible to wait for the outcome of Iran’s presidential election next June.
• Dr. Bader bin Saud is a weekly columnist in both Al Riyadh and Okaz newspapers.