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John Kerry confirms recent rogue meetings with Iran to salvage nuclear deal

John Kerry, then-U.S. Secretary of State, answers military members questions regarding counter-terrorism initiatives during a visit to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 6, 2015. (Senior Airman Nesha Humes/U.S. Air Force)
September 14, 2018

Former Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed this week that he took it upon himself to hold rogue negotiations with Iran in an attempt to salvage the nuclear accord.

Kerry said during in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt that he had met with Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, at least three or four times in recent months without the Trump Administration’s knowledge, The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday.

“I think I’ve seen him three or four times,” Kerry said, noting that the visits were conducted over the past few months without authorization from the Trump Administration.

Kerry criticized the administration for not engaging in negotiations with Iran. Iran has said “they’re prepared to negotiate and resolve these issues, but the [Trump] administration’s taken a very different tact,” Kerry said.

Kerry has been critical of President Trump for his decision in May to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a deal that Kerry himself helped craft during the Obama Administration.

“What I have done is try to elicit from him [Zarif] what Iran might be willing to do to change the dynamic of the Middle East for the better,” Kerry said. “How does one resolve Yemen, what do you do to try and get peace in Syria? Those are the things that really are preoccupying him because those are the impediments to Iran’s ability to convince people its ready to embrace something different.”

Kerry added, “it appears right now, as if the [Trump] administration is hell-bent … to pursue a regime change strategy” in Iran that would “bring the economy down and try to isolate further.”

President Trump heard of Kerry’s rogue meetings and tweeted a response: “John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!”

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, individuals are required to disclose relations, activities and finances when dealing with foreign entities while representing a nation.

Kerry, however, claims he has not engaged in negotiations. “We have conversations with people about the state of affairs in the world in order to understand them. We don’t negotiate, we’re not involved in interfering with policy,” he said, according to The Hill.

Iranian leaders have maintained that they will not hold any meetings with the Trump Administration. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini reiterated this position in a tweet just two weeks ago.

“Negotiations with former U.S. officials, who at least saved some face, bore such results! With current brazen U.S. officials—who have unsheathed their swords against Iranians—what negotiations can we have? Thus no negotiations with any U.S. official at any level will be held,” he said.

Kerry has also admitted to meeting with European diplomats in addition to Iranian diplomats. It’s unclear what he hopes to achieve by holding such meetings.