In Media, Iranian Foreign Minister, Majlis Member Clash Over Iran-U.S. Relationship, MEMRI, March 9, 2017
(If we send Kerry, will they keep him?
Recently, Iranian Majlis member and National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member Javad Karimi Ghodosi, from the ideological camp that is critical of the JCPOA and of Iranian ties to the U.S. made accusations against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. In a February 28, 2017 interview, Ghodosi told the YJC website, which belongs to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), that Zarif had sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting, inter alia, that former secretary of state John Kerry be appointed special JCPOA representative. Ghodosi also noted: “[I]t is unclear whether the letter was sent in coordination with regime officials in Iran.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry immediately denied Ghodosi’s allegations, attributing ulterior motives to him and saying that he was attempting to defame Iran’s diplomatic officials.
These statements must be viewed in the context of the Iranian leadership’s apprehensions about what the Trump administration will do next, after President Trump tweeted, on February 2, that “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile” and added that the JCPOA was a “terrible deal.” They must also be viewed against the backdrop of the disagreement within the Iranian leadership over what its strategic response to the U.S. should be – whether to work with it, in line with the pragmatic camp’s approach, or to strengthen strategic ties with Russia, in line with the IRGC’s position.
Ghodosi, Zarif. Source: YJC, February 28, 2017
Following is the translation of the YJC interview with Ghodosi and of the Foreign Ministry’s rebuttal:
Majlis Member Ghodosi: Foreign Minister Zarif Asked Secretary Of State Tillerson To Appoint John Kerry As JCPOA Representative Because Of His Ties With The Iranians
“The Foreign Minister [Zarif] has sent a letter to [U.S. Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson with four requests. I hope the foreign minister will not deny this, because everything I say is true.
“One of the requests that Zarif presented to the American secretary of state is that America not take steps to cancel the JCPOA, and that if it did, Iran would submit a complaint to the [UN] Security Council regarding American violations of the JCPOA.
“Zarif’s most important request to the American secretary of state is that the U.S. State Department appoint a special JCPOA representative. The letter stated that John Kerry should be selected for this position, because he has a good and transparent relationship with the [Iranian] negotiating team.
“In this letter, Zarif [also] proposed to the new American secretary of state that he conduct a secret bilateral meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Additionally, Zarif also requested that a direct emergency line be set up for special cases between the two countries’ foreign ministries.
“Thus far, no response from the new American secretary of state to the Iranian foreign minister’s letter has been received, and it is unclear whether the letter was sent in coordination with regime officials in Iran. However, since Iran does not approve of such ties [with the U.S.], we must question [whether it was coordinated with regime officials].
“Additionally, the Iranian foreign minister sent three letters to [EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica] Mogherini presenting [Iranian allegations of U.S.] JCPOA violations. This is an excellent revolutionary letter.
“Regime officials stressed to the Iranian foreign minister that the public must be kept up to date regarding such letters and JCPOA violations. In any case, even Zarif’s fourth letter, [which was] to [Iran’s] National Security Committee, mentioned no such JCPOA violations.
“In light of the increasing severity of the sanctions, which keeps rising, the government, and especially [President] Rohani and [Foreign Minister] Zarif, must be more transparent with public opinion on nuclear matters.”
Foreign Ministry Vehemently Denies Ghodosi’s Claims
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announcement stated that “this new, untrue, and unfounded claim by Karimi Ghodosi on the matter of letters by Zarif to the American secretary of state is strongly denied.
“The Foreign Ministry is shocked and saddened by the improper and bizarre thought process of Karimi Ghodosi, who insists on continuing to make false and unfounded allegations about the senior echelon of the Iranian diplomatic corps. The aim of this appears to be disruption of public opinion and self-aggrandizement. As in the past, these claims will not benefit his specific goals.
“The wise and diligent Majlis members are well informed about all of Iran’s foreign policy, and will not be influenced by these false statements.
“Such deviant issues will [also] not influence the continuation of the principled path of the Foreign Ministry, or its general operating frameworks. Measures that disrupt public opinion are against national security and can be dealt with by legal means.”
 YJC (Iran), February 28, 2017.