Former Secretary of State John Kerry came under fire for meeting with foreign diplomats from Iran despite no longer working for the United States government. While the former head of the State Department insists that he has not been negotiating on behalf of the U.S., many believe he is attempting to undermine the Trump administration.
The president slammed Kerry on Twitter for his continued meetings with the Iranian government. He tweeted:
“John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!”
Many have asserted that Kerry’s actions could violate the Logan Act, which prohibits non-government officials from conducting negotiations on behalf of the U.S. without permission.
In an appearance on Fox News, Kerry admitted that he was meeting with diplomats from foreign nations but claimed there was no wrongdoing. “We have conversations with people about the state of affairs in the world in order to understand them,” he said, “We don’t negotiate; we’re not involved in interfering with policy.”
Despite Kerry’s denials, commentators have contended that the former official may have told the Iranian representative to wait until Trump is out of office before engaging in meaningful diplomacy with the U.S. Indeed, Kerry did not deny this assertion during his appearance on Fox News.
This is not the first time the former secretary of state has been criticized for his relationship with Iran after leaving office. In May, when President Trump was considering withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an attempt to salvage the agreement.
Critics of Kerry’s actions have indicated that his failure to register as a foreign agent could be problematic. In a recent article for The Washington Examiner, Michael Rubin wrote:
“If Kerry wants to criticize Trump for walking away from the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal], he is free to do so. And if he wants to plot and plan with Zarif, he can register as a foreign agent on behalf of Iran. But he should not remain above the law. To allow him to do so sets a horrible precedent for any future administration, for American democracy, and for coherence of U.S. policy.”
Kerry has remained defiant in the face of the criticism. In response to Trump’s comments, he posted a tweet stating that Trump “should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s FM [Foreign Minister].”
Kerry’s Relationship with Iran
During his time in office, Kerry had a close relationship with the Iranian regime, particularly with Zarif. His ties with the rogue state have raised questions about his true interests. The former diplomat was instrumental in crafting the decidedly one-sided Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on the regime while giving them over one billion dollars in cash.
Kerry defended his relationship with Zarif, claiming that it prevented ten U.S. Navy sailors who were detained by Iran from becoming hostages. However, he also used this position to ensure that the regime had access to American dollars through offshore transactions. The Washington Examiner reported:
“According to GOP aides in Congress, the State Department, under Kerry’s direction, got out in front of the Treasury by leaking to reporters that the U.S. planned to help Iran gain access to U.S. dollars through offshore transactions.”
Iran was previously unable to access American currency because European banks were hesitant to deal with Iran, fearing U.S. sanctions.
What is Kerry’s Agenda?
The fact that Kerry is undermining a sitting president should be alarming to all Americans. Unfortunately, the establishment media is avoiding the issue. It is important to note that the press did not hesitate to excoriate former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn for conversing with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period between the Trump and Obama administrations. Indeed, they had no issue claiming that Flynn was violating the Logan Act.
It is debatable whether or not John Kerry has committed illegal acts. But it is clear that his objective is to continue pursuing President Obama’s agenda. Obama wished to use an appeasement strategy to improve relations with Tehran, and it appears that the former secretary of state is still pushing towards this objective behind the Trump administration’s back.