During the Obama years, former Secretary of State John Kerry informed Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Israel, a United States ally, had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, according to leaked audio obtained by the New York Times.
During the Trump years, Kerry repeatedly held unauthorized meetings with the Iranians to undermine the Trump administration’s plans to end the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.
In May of 2018, Kerry sat down with Zarif in Paris to discuss ways of preserving the Obama administration’s “crowning diplomatic achievement.” It was the second time in about two months that the two had met to strategize over ways to salvage an agreement Trump planned to scuttle. Although there were calls at the time for Kerry to be investigated for potential crimes, nothing was ever done about it.
He is now the Biden administration’s United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
“Former Secretary of State John Kerry informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, to his astonishment, Mr. Zarif said,” Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi wrote.
Zarif’s shocking claim about Kerry’s potential treason comes deep into the Times‘ story about the leaked tape, which is mostly about Zarif describing his rivalry with the now deceased Islamic Revolutionary Guard leader, Qassim Suleimani.
Soleimani was assassinated in a targeted American drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq on January 3, 2020 on the orders of President Donald Trump.
The release of the comments by Zarif set off a firestorm within Iran, where officials carefully mind their words amid a cutthroat political environment that includes the powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, ultimately overseen by the country’s supreme leader. Zarif has been suggested as a possible candidate for Iran’s June 18 presidential election as well.
Outside of Iran, Zarif’s comments could also affect talks in Vienna aimed at finding a way for Tehran and the U.S. to both come into compliance with Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Already, sabotage targeted Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz during the talks as Tehran has begun enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60% purity, which edges the country closer to weapons-grade levels.
After the leak became public, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh did not dispute the tape’s authenticity. He told journalists on Monday that the recording represented just a portion of a seven-hour interview Zarif gave to a well-known economist that was to be held for posterity by a think tank associated with the Iranian presidency.
Trump’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley expressed her disgust on Twitter, calling for Kerry to answer for why he “would be tipping off Iran, the number one sponsor of terror, while stabbing one of our greatest partners, Israel, in the back.”
This is disgusting on many levels. Biden and Kerry have to answer for why Kerry would be tipping off Iran, the number one sponsor of terror, while stabbing one of our greatest partners, Israel, in the back. https://t.co/ZLWnQRZkrG
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) April 26, 2021
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Ny.) called for Kerry to be “immediately investigated and prosecuted” over Zarif’s claim, and to be removed from “any government or advisory position.”
This is a criminal act and John Kerry must be immediately investigated and PROSECUTED.
President Biden must immediately remove John Kerry from any government or advisory position.https://t.co/lO7ReFVCZS
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) April 26, 2021
The non-profit group StopAntisemitism.org blasted Kerry for throwing “Israel under the rug.”
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) April 26, 2021
Kerry was also harshly condemned by various Middle East experts, and pundits online.
“John Kerry was ratting out Israeli covert operations in Syria directly to the Iranian foreign minister. Let that sink in. Wow,” Noah Pollak of the foreign policy-focused Democratic Alliance Group wrote on Twitter.
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) April 26, 2021
I literally can’t believe John Kerry TOLD the Iranian regime about Israel’s covert operations against them. Imagine choosing a terror sponsoring regime over our closest ally in the Middle East. Disgusting.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) April 26, 2021
Yes, John Kerry is a treasonous snob. No, there will be no repercussions. I’m sure the loyal opposition will use tough language and demand an “investigation.” None of it matters. The System is not going to punish its own.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) April 26, 2021
Conservative commentator John Cardillo urged Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to stand up and demand an investigation into Kerry’s potentially treasonous behavior.
Do they do anything except lose and grift?
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 26, 2021
While the New York Times is facing criticism for burying Zarif’s claim that the former Sec. of State ratted out the Israelis, many other news outlets left the bombshell out of their reports entirely.