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TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Sunday slammed as a "big mistake" remarks by his foreign minister, a week after audio emerged of the latter bemoaning the military's influence on diplomacy. Top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, a moderate, made the remarks in a three-hour "private" conversation first published by media outlets outside the country a week ago, provoking anger from conservatives.

"The country's policies are made of different economic, military, social, scientific and cultural plans, including foreign relations and diplomacy," Khamenei said in televised remarks.

Saying "that one part denies the other or contradicts... is a big mistake that must not be perpetrated by officials of the Islamic republic," the supreme leader added.

The recording -- described as "stolen" by Iran's government -- has triggered a heated debate ahead of presidential elections and amid talks in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Khamenei did not explicitly cite the leaked audio or Zarif's name, but the comments, in the last few minutes of an hour-long speech, were clearly targeted at the foreign minister.

The supreme leader also emphasised that "nowhere in the world is foreign policy devised by the foreign ministry".

The diplomatic apparatus is only "the executor" of decisions made at higher levels, he said.

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