Vice President Jahangiri:
TEHRAN (Dispatches) – First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri has paid tribute to late commander General Qassem Soleimani for his influential role in settling issues through negotiations, saying the concerns of the "commander of hearts” were not limited to the battlefield.
Speaking during an online discussion, Jahangiri said General Soleimani was not a commander "in the field” alone, but he believed that negotiations had a crucial importance.
He "was present in many negotiations and used to negotiate a lot. He was ultimately martyred during a trip as he wanted to negotiate with the prime minister of Iraq about talks with Saudi Arabia and the subject of Yemen,” Jahangiri added.
Jahangiri paid tribute to the late commander for his high sense of empathy, saying the "commander of hearts” affectionately used for him was not a result of General Soleimani’s activities in the field alone, but his sacrifice of personal and partisan interests for Iran.
His comments came after a controversy erupted over a leaked audio of Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif, claiming occasional differences with General Soleimani.
On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said the leaked audio had been released by "a dirty Saudi-sponsored channel” with the purpose of undermining unity in Iran at a time of ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna.
Rouhani also lauded General Soleimani, saying he was "the best adviser” for the administration on foreign policy, who also helped foil Zionist and American plots in the region.
The leaked interview, first published by Saudi-sponsored Iran International channel, included more than three hours of audio from Zarif’s interview in March with Iranian journalist and economist Saeed Laylaz.
Iranian officials said the interview was part of an oral history project compiled by the Presidential Office’s Center for Strategic Studies.