Internal State documents show senior Obama administration officials engaged in a secret meeting with Iran in 2018 to undermine the Trump administration’s push to isolate the regime.
A delegation of “U.S. former ambassadors held a secret, “off-the-record” meeting with former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif at his residence in New York City.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
The document is the firmest proof to date that Obama-era officials were engaged in back-channel efforts to keep negotiations with Iran alive, even as former president Donald Trump and his administration worked to isolate the regime, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo told the Free Beacon in exclusive remarks. Pompeo, who was not aware of these meetings while leading the State Department, said the memo corroborates reports from the time about Kerry’s efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal through back-channel powwows with Iranian officials.
“This memo reflects even more than we already knew about former State Department officials continuing on as if they were still in office,” said Pompeo, who is now senior counsel for global affairs at the ACLJ. “Trying, at every turn, to work with the foreign minister for a terrorist regime, Iran, to undermine the very sanctions put in place by America. It’s worse than not knowing when to get off stage. Actively seeking to protect the terrible deal they struck, these former officials—two years after Obama left office—were signaling that Iran should stand firm against America.”
Pompeo said it is startling to learn that members of a former U.S. administration attempted to handicap a sitting president’s policies, describing the disclosure as “bad stuff, dangerous stuff, un-American stuff.” These former officials, he said, “should be ashamed of themselves. Working against their own nation’s policies alongside such a brutal regime.”
The seven-page memo was reportedly created during the meeting with Zarif, which came days after reports broke that Kerry was seeking to salvage the Iran nuclear agreement after Trump nixed it earlier that year.
Zarif also said his government would never give up its missile program or stop enriching uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon and one of the key conditions Trump placed on a potential new deal with Iran that never came to fruition.
“The U.S. says no peace deal and the U.S. will reimpose sanctions, but the condition is zero missiles, zero nuclear enrichment. This what [John] Bolton wants,” Zarif said, referring to Trump’s national security adviser. “I know Bolton and negotiated with him years ago. His views are so radical, that we could not reach an agreement. Absolute impossibility to reach an agreement with John Bolton unless you ask him to sit down and read at dictation speed what he wants and then you sign it. He is incapable of compromise.”
Ben Sisney, ACLJ’s senior litigation counsel, said the organization’s efforts prove that “there were even more secret meetings happening behind the Trump administration’s back than had been previously reported.”
But Sisney said it also raises bigger questions: “How did this memo of ‘former’ U.S. officials meeting with Zarif get into the State Department’s hands? Was someone at the State Department there? Did the State Department send an informal liaison?”