Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday unloaded on his predecessor of the Obama era, John Kerry, for "actively undermining" the US policy on Iran by meeting several times recently with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main interlocutor in the treaty negotiations Iran nuclear
In an unusually blunt and caustic language, Pompeo said that Kerry's meetings with Mohammad Javad Zarif were "unseemly and unprecedented". and & # 39; beyond the inappropriate & # 39;
President Donald Trump accused Kerry on Thursday of holding "illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian regime, which can only serve to undermine our great work to the detriment of the American people."
Pompeo said he would leave "legal determinations to others," but criticized Kerry as a former secretary of state for engaging with "the largest state sponsor of terrorism" and telling Iran to "wait for this administration."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unloaded Friday on his predecessor of the Obama era, John Kerry, for "actively undermining" the US policy on Iran by meeting several times recently with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main interlocutor in the negotiations of the agreement Iran nuclear
He noted that only this week Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at US diplomatic compounds in Iraq.
"You can not find a precedent for this in the history of the US, and Secretary Kerry should not get involved in that kind of behavior," a troubled Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. "It is inconsistent with what the foreign policy of the United States is according to the instructions of this president, and it is beyond what is inappropriate for him to commit himself."
Kerry, who is promoting her new book & # 39; Every Day is Extra & # 39;, did not get an immediate response last Friday for Trump's latest Twitter barrage. In the past, he has been harshly critical of the president and his decision in May to withdraw from the agreement with Iran.
Pompeo also jailed former Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz and former Iranian negotiator Wendy Sherman for joining Kerry in a meeting with Zarif and other Iranian officials earlier this year at a security conference in Munich.
Along with Kerry, Moniz and Sherman played key roles in the negotiation of the 2015 agreement between Iran and several world powers that lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
"I was not at the meeting, but I'm reasonably sure he was not there in support of US policy with regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said.
"The former Secretaries of State, all of them, of any of the political parties, should not participate in [this], & # 39; he said. "Actively undermining US policy as a former secretary of state is literally unheard of."
Such meetings, between a US citizen and a foreign official, are not illegal or necessarily inappropriate or a violation of federal regulations, but Trump, Pompeo and several Republican Party lawmakers say they are evidence that Kerry and the former government officials of Obama are trying to subvert Trump's hard line in Iran.
John Kerry (R) meets with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City in April 2016 when he was still Secretary of State. The two have met several times since then in an effort to keep the nuclear deal with Iran intact.
"John Kerry had illegal meetings with the hostile Iranian regime, which can only serve to undermine our great work to the detriment of the American people," Trump tweeted Thursday night. & # 39; He told them to wait for the Trump Administration! Was it registered under the Foreign Agent Registration Law? BAD! & # 39;
The law that Trump invoked: the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, requires registration and transparency by individuals or companies acting on behalf of governments, political parties or foreign individuals.
But Josh Rosenstein, partner at Washington law firm Sandler Reiff and compliance advocacy specialist, said there are too many unanswered questions to know if the law applies to Kerry's interactions with Zarif.
The provisions of FARA do not extend to activities carried out abroad, so Kerry interacts with him. It is also unclear if any Iranian specifically asked Kerry for advice.
"The devil is always in the details," Rosenstein said. "Simply offering advice to a foreign government does not make it a foreign agent."
When reports of Kerry's ex officio contacts with Zarif first surfaced in May, Trump tweeted similar thoughts.
"John Kerry can not forget the fact that he had his chance and ruined it! Get away from the negotiations, John, you are hurting your country!" He said on May 8.
A day earlier, he tweeted: "The United States does not need the possible illegal diplomacy of John Kerry in the highly negotiated Iran deal, it was he who created this MESS in the first place!
Criticism of Trump and Pompeo came after Kerry told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that previous reports of his meetings with Zarif were correct: they had met three or four times since Kerry left office, but not since that Pompeo took office in April.
One such meeting took place in Oslo, Norway, and another in Munich, he said. A third party has reportedly been produced at United Nations headquarters, technically not on US soil.
Kerry told Hewitt that he was not training the Iranians on how to deal with the Trump administration.
"That's not my job, and my training would not do it, you know, that's not how it works," he said in the interview. "What I did was try to get rid of (Zarif) what Iran might be willing to do to improve the dynamics in the Middle East."