Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump, Pompeo bash ex-Secretary of State Kerry on Iran talks

Trump, Pompeo bash ex-Secretary of State Kerry on Iran talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday lambasted his predecessor, John Kerry, for meetings with Iranian officials in back-channel talks and accused him of "actively undermining" the Trump administration's policy towards Tehran.

President Donald Trump lashed out at former secretary of state John Kerry for his meetings with Iran's foreign minister after the Obama-appointee had left office.

Pompeo, who said he would leave the "legal determinations to others", lambasted Kerry for engaging with "the world's largest state-sponsor of terror" and telling Iran to "wait out this administration".

Such meetings, between a private USA citizen and foreign officials, are not against the law and not necessarily inappropriate, but Trump and the GOP contend Kerry is trying to subvert the administration's hard line on Iran.

Kerry dismissed the criticisms and said he had briefed Pompeo and the State Department about the discussions with Zarif and said Trump should "be more anxious about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's [foreign minister]".

"I think everybody in the world is talking about waiting out President Trump", Kerry said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pauses as he speaks at a news conference in the press briefing room at the State Department in Washington, Friday in Washington.

"There's nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts", a spokesman for Kerry said in a statement.

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Kerry told radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview on September 12 that he's met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif "three or four times" in places like Norway and Germany since he left office in 2016.

Trump supporters immediately leapt on Kerry's actions as evidence of "treason", with some calling for him to go to prison. Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

The Trump administration decided in May to pull out of the Iran deal, which had given Iran relief from sanctions, in exchange for making changes to its uranium enrichment program to deter it from developing nuclear weapons.

During an appearance on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Wednesday, Kerry acknowledged meeting with Zarif "three or four times" since leaving office, admitting to discussing the scrapped nuclear deal and other issues. With current brazen USA officials-who have unsheathed their swords against Iranians-what negotiations can we have? Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, is one of the first people to be brought to trial as a result of the Mueller special counsel investigation.

"I tweeted out that the conversation that Donald Trump should be concerned about is the one between Paul Manafort and Robert Mueller", Kerry said.

"What @JohnKerry has done by engaging with #Iran's regime, the world's top state sponsor of terror, is unseemly, unprecedented, and inconsistent with US foreign policy".

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Manisha Singh Kerry in softer terms at a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.

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