Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote an op-ed on Thursday in which he slammed John Kerry for holding secret talks with top Iranian officials. Pompeo said the talks undermined former President Donald Trump during his administration, and more recent reports of meetings in which Kerry allegedly divulged secrets of U.S. ally Israel.
Recent reports revealed leaked audio from Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, in which he said Kerry told him Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria at least 200 times, an admission that shocked Zarif. Pompeo called the revelation “troubling” in his op-ed this week.
“Kerry covertly worked to undermine the Trump administration’s efforts by meeting with top Iranian leaders during our tenure, encouraging them to ‘wait’ until the next election, when presumably the same Obama administration officials they struck a deal with in 2016 would be back in power, and now we learn perhaps worse, providing valuable intelligence to the Iranians concerning our ally, Israel,” Pompeo wrote.
“It is quite possible that while I was briefing President Trump about Iranian operations in Syria, Kerry was briefing Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other top Iranian officials about Israeli operations there,” Pompeo continued.
“John Kerry owes the American people an explanation of what exactly he discussed with the Iranians,” he said, including an explanation of why Kerry “would discuss the military operations of an American ally with one of our stated adversaries and a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Pompeo criticized the Obama administration policies in the Middle East – which Kerry helped facilitate as secretary of state – and said the same officials “who presided over those failed policies” are now at the helm of the current administration.
Pompeo said Kerry’s actions are consistent with the characteristics of both the Obama and Biden administrations, including a “contempt for the views of ordinary Americans, and their disregard for the constitutional limits on their authority.” Together, these characteristics are inconsistent with Americans’ wishes and undermine US and allies’ national security, Pompeo said.
Kerry, who is currently U.S. special presidential envoy for climate for President Joe Biden’s administration, has denied the allegations raised by Zarif. On Monday, Kerry tweeted, “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.”
Several members of Congress, including Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz called for an investigation into Kerry’s actions. Sen. Dan Sullivan called for Kerry to resign.
Kerry has faced criticism for years over his backdoor meetings with Iranians – including during the Trump administration, which he confirmed.
In Sept. 2018, Kerry admitted publicly that he met with Zarif multiple times during the Trump administration, and without the administration’s knowledge, in an attempt to negotiate with Iran to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
At that time, Pompeo called Kerry’s actions “unseemly and unprecedented.”
Kerry has been critical of Trump for his decision in May 2018 to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a deal that Kerry himself helped craft during the Obama administration.