April 30, 2021

John Kerry Accused of Leaking Secrets to Iran

  • Executive

By: Amy Jo Underwood

In Brief: 

According to the New York Times, John Kerry leaked secrets involving Israeli military operations in Syria to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif when serving as Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama. Zarif and Kerry worked closely together on the Iran Nuclear Deal. Zarif claims that he did not know of the Israeli’s covert operations until Kerry informed him. The Biden administration plans to move forward in reinstating the Iran nuclear deal, although details have yet to be finalized.

The Background: 

Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been accused of leaking confidential information surrounding Israeli military operations to Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif while serving in the Obama administration. Newly released transcripts of conversations between Kerry and Zarif have resulted in many members of the GOP calling for Kerry’s immediate removal from the Biden administration. 

Iran has long been an adversary of both the United States and Israel. There is no possible justification for the United States’ Secretary of State to share classified information to a mutual enemy of both the U.S. and its ally.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) stated, “[If these recordings are] true, revealing secret information to one of America’s most sworn enemies with the blood of thousands of American military members on its hands, undermining the interests of one of our most important allies, the state of Israel — if this is true, John Kerry needs to go. He should resign or he should get fired by the president of the United States.” 

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley stated, “This is disgusting on many levels. Biden and Kerry have to answer for why Kerry would be tipping off Iran, the number one sponsor of terror, while stabbing one of our greatest partners, Israel, in the back.”

One of the main foreign policy goals of the Biden administration has been to reinstate the Iran Nuclear Deal, likely by the beginning of summer. China has taken the lead in pressuring the U.S. to rejoin the deal. The United States is currently engaged in negotiations in Vienna and discussing specifics of restoring the agreement. 

Former President Donald Trump had placed strict sanctions on Iran, sold arms to Israel and Arab states, and, in 2018, removed the U.S. from a deal that gave room for the Iranians to pursue nuclear development. Under the Iran nuclear deal, the Iranian government had been able to continue research and development that could facilitate the creation of nuclear weapons. Trump applied maximum pressure policies and supported the efforts of the Israeli allies to stop the Iranian regime from becoming an even larger threat in the Middle East. 

Biden, however, has stated his intent to rejoin the deal if Iran resumes compliance with the nuclear deal of 2015. 
Amid the negotiations surrounding the reinstatement of the Iranian nuclear deal, it was revealed that John Kerry had shared the Israeli’s covert military operations with the Iranian foreign minister. After the bombshell report was released by the New York Times, Kerry denied leaking information to the Iranians. He stated, “I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened - either when I was Secretary of State or since.”

However, the transcript of the conversation between Zarif and Kerry seems to imply otherwise. Zarif has publicly stated that he was shocked to learn from Kerry about the Israeli strikes, and had no prior knowledge. 

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against reentering an agreement with Iran, calling it an “evil regime” due to its repeated human rights violations and government-sponsored terrorism. Pompeo declared, “I pray that we will move forward on a path, which is decent and righteous and moral, and make sure that we always defend those democracies in this world who are prepared to stand up for their own rights.”

Notable Quotes:

“If this tape is verified, it would signal catastrophic and disqualifying recklessness by Envoy Kerry to Foreign Minister Zarif that endangered the safety of Americans and our allies. And it would be consistent with his long pattern of empowering Iran’s regime. [Kerry] poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the Ayatollah’s terrorist bank accounts, was a close confidant with Zarif during the Obama administration, and was caught repeatedly meeting with him during the Trump administration (notwithstanding the Logan Act) — and has never publicly accounted for what they discussed.” - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

“America, who is the noblest force for good and for human rights in the world, cannot permit the return to a situation where the risk to the Jewish homeland is real and the capacity for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon is real.” - Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

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