Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to meeting repeatedly with Iranian Former Minister Javad Zarif in a bid to salvage the now defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in an interview Wednesday.
Speaking to radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday, Kerry said he met with Zarif “three or four times” in a bid, as the former Obama official described it, to “elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better.”
Kerry recalled holding candid discussions with the top Iranian official about the Islamic regime’s material support of Yemen’s Houthi movement and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. “I’ve been very blunt to Foreign Minister Zarif. I told him, ‘Look, you guys need to recognize the world does not appreciate what’s happening with missiles, what’s happening with Hezbollah, what’s happening with Yemen,'” he claimed. “You’re supporting an ongoing struggle there.”
According to the Obama-era official, Iran stands ready to solve the issues surrounding its involvement abroad. However, to the former Secretary of State’s chagrin, the U.S. appears unwilling to engage in diplomacy with the terror-sponsor. Kerry began:
They say they’re prepared to negotiate and to resolve these issues. But the administration’s taken a very different tack. I don’t know as I talk to you today if there’s been any dialogue or sit down. I don’t think there has, which would open up any kind of diplomatic channel. And it appears right now as if the administration is hell bent for leather determined to pursue a regime change strategy to bring the economy down and try to isolate further.
Further, Kerry suggested that the State Department consider engaging diplomatically with Iran because, “[T]he United States historically has not had a great record in regime change strategies, number one, and number two that makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for any Iranian leader to sit down and negotiate anything because they’re not going to do it in a capitulatory situation.”
In May, the Boston Globe reported that Kerry held secret talks with Zarif to discuss ways to safeguard the nuclear agreement. The report was met with a strong rebuke from President Donald Trump on Twitter. “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!” the president wrote.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
Later, Trump mocked Kerry as “not the best negotiator” in his remarks before the National Rifle Association conference. “He never walked away from the table except to be in that bicycle race where he fell and broke his leg,” the president joked.
On May 8, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement, upholding one of his key campaign promises to to revoke the deal signed by then-President Barack Obama.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” the president said at the time. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
“America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” he added.