News that President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry leaked sensitive Israeli operations information to Iran is disturbing. Liberty Nation has provided comprehensive coverage on persistent clashes between Israel and Iran, but even the most cynical Kerry-detractors may not have suspected that such a highly placed diplomat would betray the United States’ most valuable ally in the Middle East.
Fox News reporter Evie Fordham reported that in a leaked audio obtained by The New York Times, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted that Kerry, “when he was serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, informed him of more than 200 Israeli operations in Syria.”
The tape is not the first evidence that Kerry has been associated with questionable behavior. In a Washington Times article from February 2021, Ben Wolfgang and Guy Taylor wrote that President Donald Trump had attempted to open communications with Iran to de-escalate tensions. This overture failed because former Obama Middle East adviser Robert Malley talked with Zarif directly to “undermine the Trump team and lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations.” Consequently, Trump’s peace initiative was scuttled. Kerry met with Zarif during the Trump years, based on Washington Times reporting, so it is not inconceivable – and maybe plausible — that this leaked information on Kerry is accurate.
If so, the anti-American arrogance among those that Americans trust to represent them is beyond despicable.
The tape revealing that Kerry gave Israeli sensitive operations information to the Iranians also caused a bit of a dust-up in Tehran, as we learn from Al Jazeera in a dispatch by Maziar Motamedi. He reported:
“A leaked interview in which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif frankly discusses behind-the-scenes maneuvers in Iranian politics has stirred fierce conversation and debate ahead of the country’s presidential elections in June.”
The way Fordham tells it, Zarif’s comments were not the official Iranian narrative, which is very carefully crafted. Iran has no free press; only those views that have been scrubbed of negative inference are allowed in the public discourse. Fordham explained it this way:
“The release of the comments by Zarif set off a firestorm within Iran, where officials carefully mind their words amid a cutthroat political environment that includes the powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, ultimately overseen by the country’s supreme leader. Zarif has been suggested as a possible candidate for Iran’s June 18 presidential election as well.”
After the tapes came into public view, according to Fordham, “Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh did not dispute the tape’s authenticity.” But probably more evidence that the recordings were authentic was that Khatibzadeh said the tapes were “illegal” and were “selectively” edited.
This is a “he said, he said,” with no one disputing the tape’s content. When it comes to Iran believing U.S. intentions, there has been no confusion in the past. Mark Angelides, Liberty Nation’s managing editor, said recently,
“Despite hyperbolic headlines in the American media suggesting that Trump would drag the U.S. into a bloody battle with the Iranian regime, it seems that the president’s show of strength actually improved relations. When Soleimani was killed, Iran launched rockets at key bases in retaliation but was sure to inform the locations in advance so as to avoid any casualties. This restrained blustering has been the hallmark of the last four years.”
Like it or not, Iran’s restraint was based on trust that Trump and his national security team did not make idle threats. But that is the foundation of international agreements, negotiations, and demarches: trusting the behavior of each other.
Now, it seems Kerry, the climate change czar, has created a changed climate, all right, one of distrust. It’s not likely Israelis will trust the Biden administration with any sensitive information again. Why would they?
There is an excellent possibility that the release of the Zarif interview could damage the talks to revive a nuclear agreement among Iran, the European Union, and the United States.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.