Iran’s foreign minister claimed in a leaked recording that former US Secretary of State John Kerry told him about over 200 covert Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in Syria during former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in the leaked recording obtained by the New York Times and Iran International that the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the country’s supreme leader kept him in the dark about government negotiations and military operations, and that he was receiving intel from Kerry.
“It was former US Foreign Secretary John Kerry who told me Israel had launched more than 200 attacks on Iranian forces in Syria,” he said.
Zarif made the comments in a March interview with an Iranian journalist that wasn’t supposed to be released until August, when President Hassan Rouhani leaves office.
Zarif met with Kerry and President Barack Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when former President Trump was in the White House, which Kerry admitted to in 2018.
Kerry and Moniz were instrumental in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers.
Kerry said he met with Zarif and other Iranian officials in an effort to salvage the nuclear agreement.
Trump later that month slammed Kerry for his “shadow diplomacy,” saying the Obama administration officials are who got the US into “this mess” in the first place.
“The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!,” Trump posted on Twitter after reports surfaced about Kerry’s talks with the Iranians.
He pulled the US out of the pact days later.
Kerry at the time defended the nuclear deal.
“I think every American would want every voice possible urging Iran to remain in compliance with the nuclear agreement that prevented a war,” he said in a statement.
“Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State. Like America’s closest allies, he believes it is important that the nuclear agreement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective as countries focus on stability in the region.”
Trump in May 2019 accused Kerry of violating federal law by siding with Iran over US interests — and said he should be prosecuted for it.
“You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act, and frankly he should be prosecuted on that,” Trump said at the time.