Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has met with Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, to report to him about the state of the country's foreign affairs.
Iranian government officials occasionally meet with high-ranking clerics to explain policies and re-assure them over controversial decisions, but a meeting by the foreign minister with just one cleric has raised eyebrows.
Alamolhoda, the father-in-law of President Ebrahim Raisi, is known for his ultraconservative positions. In December 2009, he was famously quoted as referring to opponents of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as part of the "party of Satan."
In late March, the European Union imposed sanctions on Alamolhoda in its sixth round of measures related to the suppression of protests in Iran. The EU Council cited his involvement in promoting hatred against women, protesters, and religious minorities, holding him accountable for significant human rights violations within Iran.
Recently, the senior Ayatollah characterized the release of Iran's frozen funds by the United States to free for five American hostages as a "humiliation" and a "ransom" in exchange for protecting "their spies."
He asserted that the ransom was paid not out of humanitarian concern for the hostages but to prevent the exposure of espionage secrets through Iran's interrogation of the prisoners. Alamolhoda also criticized "Westernized" Iranians for placing their hopes on the United States and Europe.