Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman Al Saud said that Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javid Zarif’s authority was diminishing and that his peace talks in Europe held no significance for those with power in Iran.

“Unfortunately, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia learned the hard way that Javed Zarif is just another face of the same coin; now we know who is the jockey and who is the horse,” Prince Khalid, the former Saudi ambassador to the US, posted on his Twitter account.

He posted his comment, in which he included a mention to Zarif’s account, hours after the Iranian minister returned to work just two days after announcing his resignation on Instagram.

Reports linked the resignation announcement with keeping Zarif in the dark about the visit by Syrian President Bashar Assad to Iran this week.

He was notably excluded from the meeting on Monday between Assad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei while Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the extraterritorial branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was present.

However, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a senior foreign policy advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, ruled out the link between the resignation and Al Assad’s visit, saying “the rumours in this regard were merely media speculation that aimed to diminish the impact of Assad’s visit to Tehran.”

President Hassan Rouhani stood by Zarif and rejected his resignation and on Wednesday, Al Assad invited Zarif to visit Damascus, but no date for the trip was specified.

Zarif’s attempt to resign was seen as part of the long-time rivalries within the political class in Iran. It also and shed light on the power struggle among factions on several issues, including foreign policy.

Opponents claim Zarif’s stature has diminished after the US pulled out from the 2015 nuclear accord in which the foreign minister played a key role.

The Trump Administration’s pressure on Iran as well as the hardening European Union stance vis-à-vis Tehran’s suspicious activities and terror plotting in Europe have given more blows to Zarif’s international standing in the eyes of Iranian factions opposed to him.

In a public damage-control move, Soleimani on Wednesday said that Zarif was the main person in charge of foreign policy and he was supported by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Mr Zarif is in charge of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, and has always been supported by the top officials,” Soleimani said, quoted by Fars news agency.

In a second tweet, Prince Khalid stressed the voice that the international community should hear.

“Perhaps @JZarif announced his resignation because he finally understood that his peaceful rhetoric in Europe isn’t worth much back home. We always listen to what is said in Tehran and not by Zarif in Europe,” Prince Khalid remarked.

Zarif has often used European forums to put on salient performances to attack opponents and garner support for his country’s policies.

Combining fluent and colloquial English, he invariably portrayed a flowery image of Iran, alternated moral pressure and emotional appeals to Europe to support Tehran’s programmes, derided US behaviour in the region and across the world and challenged opponents and media in vivid confrontations.

The 59-year-old Iranian diplomat, an avid user of the Twitter microblog, has not reacted to Prince Khalid’s tweets.

Source » gulfnews