REPORT: Iranian Foreign Minister Says He Did Not Know About Israeli Covert Operations Until Told By John Kerry

(Rick Wilking/AFP via Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif reportedly said he had no knowledge of covert Israeli operations before former Secretary of State John Kerry told him, according to a translation of leaked audio commissioned by the Washington Free Beacon.

The New York Times reported the leaked audio of an unaired interview Monday, in which Zarif said the former Secretary of State informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria more than 200 times. It was not made clear from the recording how sensitive the information was, but the report drew allegations that Kerry compromised U.S. and Israeli security interests.

“Kerry told me that Israel had launched 200 airstrikes against you, Zarif said according to the Washington Free Beacon’s translation of the leaked audio. “You didn’t know?” his interviewer asked. “No, no,” Zarif responded.

The revelation appears to contradict current State Department officials, who have repeatedly said the information discussed in the leaked audio was already in the public domain and not classified.

“If you go back and look at press reporting from the time, this certainly was not secret, and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly on the record,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday during a press briefing.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed allegations that the Israeli military strikes in Syria were a secret during an interview Tuesday with CNN host Jake Tapper. (RELATED: Pompeo Claims It’s Not The First Time John Kerry Met With Iranian Officials Against American Interests)

“They were all reported in the press at the time, so it is utter nonsense, and it’s really unfortunate that people continue to try and play politics with this,” he said.

A group of House Republicans sent a letter Wednesday to Acting Inspector General Diana Shaw calling for an investigation into the “massively alarming allegations” that Kerry leaked classified information to Iran. Other Republican lawmakers have called on Kerry to resign from his current position as President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, according to The Hill.

Kerry has denied the allegations and called the story “unequivocally false” in a tweet Monday.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reportedly raided the offices of Zarif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday morning, according to IranWire. Zarif criticized the IRGC and its assassinated general Qasem Soleimani in the leaked audio, multiple Iranian and U.S. outlets reported.