Hundreds of Iranian hardliners on Monday afternoon rallied in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran to protest against Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and the remarks he made about the possibility of talks with the United States in an interview with Der Spiegel on January 24.
The protesters chanted slogans against Zarif, the United States, Israel and Britain and called the Foreign Minister an opportunist, a compromiser and demanded that he resign from his post. A cleric who spoke at the rally in Tehran said Zarif's remarks and the U.S. President Donald Trump's response to him were "humiliating" and "undermined Iran's power". The call for the rally had been published in hardliner media on Sunday.
Protesters chanting against the United States in front of Iranian Foreign Ministry at a rally to protest Zarif's recent remarks.
Asked by Der Spiegel whether he rules out the possibility of negotiations with the US following the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Zarif had replied: “No, I never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities. For us, it doesn’t matter who is sitting in the White House. What matters is how they behave. The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiating table. We’re still at the negotiating table. They’re the ones who left. The US. has inflicted great harm on the Iranian people. The day will come when they will have to compensate for that. We have a lot of patience”.
In a press conference on Monday morning, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters that Zarif's remarks in the interview with Der Spiegel had been misunderstood and the opponents of Zarif had based their arguments against Zarif on the Persian-language tweet of Trump. In a tweet on Zarif himself said the U.S. President had misunderstood his remarks and called on him to refer to the English text of his interview with the German newspaper.
In a statement on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said it is committed to defending Iran's dignity "by utilizing its legal and diplomatic abilities" despite the unlawful pressures and efforts of the United States of America".
The statement also called Soleimani "the hero of the fight against terrorism" and said, "it has been proven to the world's public opinion that it is the US government that is at the forefront of terrorism protectors worldwide".