John Kerry, the special envoy for climate change under President Biden, is facing multiple calls to resign following reports alleging that he provided intelligence to Iran’s foreign minister.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed, in a leaked recording obtained by the New York Times, that Kerry informed him about over 200 covert Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in Syria.
“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,” according to the Times.
The Democrat, who has a seat on the National Security Council, vehemently denied the allegations and called the story “unequivocally false.”
“This never happened,” he tweeted, “either when I was Secretary of State or since.”
The New York Post reports that Zarif was tipped off about Israeli operations “during former President Donald Trump’s administration,” but later states it is “unclear whether (John) Kerry tipped off Zarif while secretary of state, or out of office.”
“I met with him at a conference in Norway,” Kerry said, speaking about Zarif. “I think I saw him in a conference in Munich at the World Economic Forum. So I’ve probably seen him three or four times.”
A report in the Washington Times this past February expanded on Kerry engaging in diplomacy with Zarif and Iran without the knowledge of then-President Trump.
That included the revelation that Kerry and Robert Malley, two Biden administration officials who served under former President Barack Obama, “colluded” with Iran to undermine the Trump administration’s efforts at diplomacy.
Fox News defined the effort as “shadow diplomacy” and explained the Democrat officials “had meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during the Trump administration that were orchestrated to undermine” President Trump.
Kerry and Malley served as key U.S. negotiators of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal.
The deal provided economic sanctions relief and access to tens of billions of dollars in frozen bank accounts to Iran in exchange for a promise to limit nuclear enrichment activities.
Trump pulled the United States from the pact in 2018.
Upon learning of Kerry’s actions, the former President accused him of violating the Logan Act and claimed he “should be prosecuted.”
Trump’s Secretary of State at the time, Mike Pompeo, called Kerry’s actions “unseemly and unprecedented,” while a Kerry spokesman claimed that Kerry told Pompeo all the details about his conversations with Zarif.
Following the latest report that John Kerry may have provided the Iran Foreign Minister with intel, multiple Republican lawmakers have called for him to step down.
This, despite Kerry’s denials and despite the Biden administration saying the information “was widely known at the time,” according to The Hill.
In 2018, Reuters ran a report indicating a senior Israeli official had confirmed that Israel had struck 200 Iranian targets in Syria.
The Washington Post notes that the timing of Kerry’s alleged comments matter. If they came before Israel had divulged that information, it would mean giving sensitive information to an adversary.
If Kerry’s comments came after, it would have already been public knowledge.
Still, several Republican senators called for Kerry to resign during speeches on the floor of the Senate.
“I don’t do this lightly. In my entire time in the Senate, I’ve never called for anyone’s resignation,” Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said.
“But his record, John Kerry’s record, of undermining working families and working against American national security interests was too much to bear,” he continued. “He needs to go.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a voice of support for Donald Trump throughout his administration, went further, demanding John Kerry not only resign or be removed but that he be investigated and prosecuted.
“This is a criminal act and John Kerry must be immediately investigated and prosecuted,” she tweeted. “President Biden must immediately remove John Kerry from any government or advisory position.”
“This is something that deserves a Senate investigation,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said. “If it indeed is proven to be accurate, then John Kerry should seriously consider resignation.”
Other Republicans were a little more cautious. WaPo reports that Ted Cruz added a caveat to his criticism, saying “if this tape is verified.”
Lindsey Graham questioned whether or not the tape should be trusted at all: “I don’t know if we should trust that tape or not. If it’s true, it’s very damaging,” Graham said.
“I like John Kerry, but that would not be helpful, and it would be very problematic if it were true. But let’s wait and see how authentic this is.”
And Fox News is reporting that one group is demanding Kerry be subpoenaed by Congress for these reports indicating he provided information to Iran.
“We would like to see a united front from the Democrats and Republicans who serve on the House Homeland Security Committee by immediately issuing a subpoena for John Kerry to appear in a public hearing before the committee next week,” Bryan E. Leib, executive director of Iranian Americans for Liberty, said.
He added, “These allegations from Iran’s foreign minister, if true, are grounds for treason.”
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