Kerry has previously been accused of colluding with Iranian leaders to undermine Trump administration
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed in recently leaked audio that John Kerry, when he was serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, informed him of more than 200 Israeli operations in Syria.
Kerry has previously been accused of colluding with Iranian leaders to undermine the Trump administration. Kerry is now a part of the Biden administration and has a seat on the National Security Council as the special presidential envoy for climate.
Kerry shocked Zarif by revealing that Israel had attacked Iranian targets in Syria more than 200 times, according to leaked audio obtained by The New York Times and other outlets.
Zarif also spoke frankly about his limited power compared to Ayatollah Ali Khameini and the blow the U.S. dealt to Iran by killing Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.
Kerry faced criticism on Monday over Zarif’s claim.
“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.
Former special advisor for Iran at the State Department Gabriel Noronha weighed in on Zarif’s lasting political career, despite his differences with others in Iranian governnment.
“The main reason Zarif has survived as Foreign Minister for 8 years in Iran’s cutthroat political environment is that he serves as the ‘reasonable’ storefront to the world, protecting the more empowered radical elements of the regime from Western and press scrutiny,” Noronha said in a statement.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif prepares to address the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, at United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
“Most of the time, Zarif’s Foreign Ministry is relegated to the job of the marketing and PR team, justifying and defending the policy choices of the IRGC and Supreme Leader Khamenei abroad,” he continued. “I think the leak was likely instigated by regime insiders who have long hated Zarif and tried to oust him — they oppose current efforts to rejoin the JCPOA and also want to bolster domestic opposition to President Rouhani and his allies running for office in June.”
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.
In this September file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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.
Khatibzadeh called the release of the recording “illegal” and described it as “selectively” edited, though he and others did not offer opinions on how it became public. Zarif, visiting Iraq on Monday after a trip to Qatar, took no questions from journalists after giving a brief statement in Baghdad.
New York Times ‘buried’ bombshell that John Kerry told Iran about Israeli covert operations in Syria
‘At best, this shows that Kerry is enormously and irresponsibly indiscreet; at worst, he’s exposing American intelligence to an enemy in order to attack an ally’
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The New York Times is taking criticism for “burying” a report that former Secretary of State John Kerry told Iran that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times.
The story focuses on leaked audio of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking candidly about Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the powerful branch of Iran’s Armed Forces and a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. However, 21 paragraphs into a 26-paragraph story, the Times dropped a major revelation.
“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.https://d9a4ab290b9a0393479ce2c7c61fd60b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html#xpc=sf-gdn-exp-5&p=https%3A//www.foxnews.com
Kerry, now President Biden’s special climate envoy, served as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State from 2013 to 2017, where he was instrumental in brokering the Iran nuclear deal. The deal was heavily opposed by Israel, with whom Kerry has frequently sparred.
Conservative critics questioned why the Kerry item wasn’t given more attention by the Times, given Iran is an enemy of the United States and Israel is a strong ally. The IRGC’s influence over Iran’s government is already well-known.
“While no one would be surprised to hear that Israel carries out covert operations against Iran, why in the world would an American Secretary of State pass that information to a regime that leads ‘Death to America’ protests in its streets? Isn’t this the real news in the US, especially with Kerry now joining another administration as its ‘climate change envoy’?” HotAir’s Ed Morrissey wrote.
“At best, this shows that Kerry is enormously and irresponsibly indiscreet; at worst, he’s exposing American intelligence to an enemy in order to attack an ally. And frankly, it looks a lot more like the latter than the former, and a lot more like an actual crime by a high-ranking US government official.”
National Review’s Jim Geraghty noted the Kerry revelation was “buried fairly deep” in the story. The piece also delved into Zarif’s rivalry with IRGC leader Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in 2020.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, infuriating Kerry and other Obama officials. Kerry revealed at the time he had engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomacy with Zarif to try to salvage the agreement.