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Khamenei Insists on Mistrusting Europe, Zarif Slams Obstruction of His Ministry

Khamenei Insists on Mistrusting Europe, Zarif Slams Obstruction of His Ministry

Tuesday, 5 March, 2019 - 12:00
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
The website of Iran’s spiritual leader Ali Khamenei revealed the details of a meeting between the latter and government ministers in July, during which he advised the government not to rely on the European package to protect Tehran from US sanctions.

The uncovering of information about the meeting, which was held few weeks before the US sanctions on Iran took effect, fell within indirect pressure by Khomeini on the government, which is currently negotiating with France Tehran’s regional role.

Khamenei’s move follows criticism by Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force, for the second time in 10 days to parties seeking an agreement on Iran’s regional role, similar to the nuclear deal.

According to an article by Reuters, Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website that the Europeans would naturally say they are protecting Iranian interests with their package but the Iranian government “should not make this a main issue”.

He said the nuclear deal did not resolve “any of the economic problems” of Iran. He predicted that a mechanism proposed by the EU to shield business with Iran against the US sanctions would also be no solution for Iran’s economic hardship.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said his ministry was being prevented from carrying out its tasks.

Last week, Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani rejected the resignation of Zarif, but the minister’s move revealed deep differences in Tehran over Iran’s foreign policy.

Zarif had resigned in protest at his lack of knowledge of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's arrival in Tehran. He said the resignation came within the framework of maintaining the legal status of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Quoted by IRNA news agency on Monday, Zarif criticized attempts to marginalize the role of his ministry, saying: “The Foreign Ministry does not accept to be sidelined in foreign relations.”

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