Iranian media reported on Tuesday that security agencies in the cleric-led country were mobilizing a lawsuit over a controversial voice recording for Iran’s former top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, which was leaked last April.
Zarif’s remarks in the recording sparked nationwide controversy as he criticized the activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the region for overriding his diplomacy efforts.
The storm triggered by his comments kept him out of the presidential race, dealing a significant blow to reformists who had high hopes for the ex-foreign minister running and perhaps winning against conservative candidates.
The media had published a leaked fragment of a recording of a conversation Zarif had with Iranian economist Saeed Laylaz.
Shortly after the leak, Iranian lawmakers weighed in heavily on the country’s justice system to file a lawsuit against Zarif.
The reformist daily Arman Meli reported on Tuesday that several security agencies are behind initiating another lawsuit.
These agencies include the intelligence service of the Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Intelligence, and the intelligence service of the Iranian judiciary.
According to the newspaper, the list of indictments includes 190 suspects, including Zarif, Lilaz, and Mohammad Ghouchani, editor-in-chief of Sazandegi, an Iranian daily affiliated with former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s political faction.
In turn, the “Rouydad 24” news website, quoting a lawyer, reported that the authorities had summoned several suspects in the case during the past days without charging them. The lawyer referred to the seizure of mobile phones, laptops, and other devices from those accused.
Zarif said in the recording that “the military field rules” in Iran and that he had “sacrificed diplomacy for the military field rather than the field servicing diplomacy.”
Moreover, the minister described a rivalry with General Qassem Soleimani, who ran the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign arm before getting killed in a US airstrike in Iraq.
In the leaked voice recording, Zarif also accuses Russia of interfering in Syria and cooperating with the Revolutionary Guard to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal.