Mohammad Javad Zarif was not invited to a policy meeting with President Ebrahim Raisi because he criticized Russia last year, a Tehran newspaper said Saturday.
Sharq daily said that Riaisi invited a meeting of former foreign ministers and top officials this week to discuss his upcoming trip to Moscow, but Zarif was not invited. The newspaper added that not inviting him could be related to his criticism of Russia in an audio file released by Iran International last April.
In the confidential recording, Zarif had criticized both former Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Russia for harming the prospects of JCPOA, Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. Zarif argued that Russia tried to harm the JCPOA, and at one point he to use “rude and non-diplomatic language” with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
Iran’s hardliners always attacked Zarif accusing him of being more concerned with having good relations with the West and engineering the nuclear agreement, which former US president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.
Raisi is scheduled to visit Moscow on January 19 and reports speak of his plans to purchase Russian arms and sign a 20-year cooperation agreement.
Pundits and citizens in Iran have been increasingly criticizing Russia recently, accusing it of trying to use Iran and its nuclear dispute for its own interests.