Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif officially announced that he would not run in upcoming presidential elections, hours before his plane landed at Damascus airport.
A number of reformist websites reported that former President Mohammad Khatami, Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the former Supreme Leader Khomeini, failed to persuade Zarif to run in the elections.
During a closed session to discuss the leaked audio on Sunday, Zarif informed the parliament that he does not intend to run in the presidential elections, in an attempt to assert that he does not have electoral goals.
Zarif addressed the Iranian citizens through an Instagram post saying his candidacy for this year’s elections is not in the interest of the country and the people.
He said he had made the decision not on the basis of personal interests or for his own convenience, but because “I have reached this conscientious conviction that me running would not be in the best interest of the country and the nation given the perturbations that have been displayed in the past eight years.”
Zarif said that the elections will be fateful, explaining that not voting is a choice, “but one that would only lead to the victory of the minority.”
He implicitly criticized the pressures he has been subjected to since the Iranian New Year, referring to a television series about Western intelligence services spying on the nuclear negotiating team.
The FM announced his upcoming regional and European tour, pointing out that it is “within the framework of the foreign minister’s duties,” and is not related to the nuclear negotiations in Vienna aimed at reaching an agreement.
Zarif mocked his opponents, urging them to focus on local issues, the priorities of guarding national interests, and protecting people from US sanctions.