Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated a prior accusation on Fox News Tuesday that John Kerry was communicating with Iranian officials during the Trump administration
“It looks like from this reporting that it’s confirmed what we already believed, which was when I was briefing President Trump, Kerry was briefing Zarif on intelligence that related to Israeli operations,” Pompeo said.
“I hope that’s not true. John Kerry needs to come forward, Secretary Kerry needs to speak to the American people and explain to them why he was meeting with Zarif.”
Iran International, a London-based outlet, and The New York Times reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a secret audio recording that Kerry had informed him that Israeli forces had struck more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria. (RELATED: John Kerry Vehemently Denies Sharing Secret Intel About Israel With Iran)
Pompeo also accused Kerry of advising the Iranians during the Trump administration not to negotiate until after Trump left office.
Pompeo said, “We believe he was absolutely telling the Iranians ‘Hang on. The pressure campaign that is being exerted against you … it will just be four years, you can hang in there. Don’t for a minute negotiate with the Trump team.'”
In 2019, Trump accused Kerry of being in violation of the Logan Act through his role in negotiations with the Iranian government, CNN reported. The Logan Act makes it a felony for individuals not authorized by the U.S. government to negotiate with foreign governments that have a contentious relationship with the U.S., according to CNN.
It was not clear when the alleged taped conversation between Kerry and Zarif took place, if it did at all, or whether the information Kerry discussed was classified, according to Politico. Kerry, who is currently President Joe Biden’s international climate envoy, said Monday that the allegations reported in the Times were “unequivocally false.”
I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since. https://t.co/BTOdFE1khW
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 26, 2021
Kerry previously met with Zarif on multiple occasions during his time in the Obama administration, including during negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal, Politico reported. The 2015 deal lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
Trump frequently railed against the deal, noting its lack of a perpetual ban on a nuclear program and how it failed to address the Islamic Republic’s malign activity across the Middle East.
“This was a horrible deal that should never, ever have been made,” Trump has previously said. (RELATED: TEARS IN TEHRAN: Trump Pulls US Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal)
Biden has promised to rejoin the deal if Iran returned to compliance.
“I do not for the life of me understand why they would give the Iranians something in exchange for almost nothing, just for this thing that appears to be an article of faith for them to go back into this deal, to say that they did this crown jewel of the Kerry, Secretary of State’s time. That would be a mistake and would put Americans at risk,” Pompeo added.
Republicans alleged that Kerry may have disclosed classified information to Zarif, which would “signal catastrophic and disqualifying recklessness” by Kerry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Monday. Some Republicans called for an investigation into Kerry for potentially betraying U.S. ally Israel, according to Politico.