A group of House Republicans are asking the State Department’s acting inspector general to investigate former Secretary of State John Kerry’s relationship with Iran.
The letter Wednesday to Diana Shaw cites the New York Times report Sunday that Iran’s foreign minister disclosed in leaked audio that Kerry informed him that Israel engaged in more than 200 covert operations against Iran in Syria.
The Daily Caller obtained the letter signed by Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr and New York Rep. Lee Zeldin
Mohammad Javad Zarif – who was Iran’s chief negotiator in the 2015 nuclear deal – claimed he received the intel while Kerry was serving as secretary of state, according to the report. Zarif said that at the time, the Revolutionary Guard Corps and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei kept him in the dark about Iran’s government negotiations and military operations.
The Times reported that Kerry’s disclosure shocked Zarif. After widespread condemnation on Monday, Kerry, who is now President Biden’s climate envoy, denied the report.
“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false,” he wrote on Twitter. “This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since.”
But the Congress members insisted there are many unanswered questions and they noted that Iran “poses an existential threat to Israel, the United States’ key ally in the Middle East, and it has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to attack Israel directly, both through proxies and from its positions in Syria.”
“Given the gravity of the security threat Iran poses to U.S. and Israeli interests, we respectfully ask that you fully investigate these allegations,” the Congress members state.
They asked Shaw five questions:
- Was the Department of State aware of these allegations before they were reported by the New York Times?
- What is the status of Special Envoy Kerry’s security clearance?
- What were the circumstances surrounding the alleged leak of information from former Secretary Kerry to Mr. Zarif, including the timing of the alleged conversation?
- What role has Special Envoy Kerry had in the formulation of the Biden Administration’s policy on reentering the JCPOA?
- Are you aware of any follow-on attacks made by Iranian proxies against Israel or its forces after Special Envoy Kerry’s alleged conversation with Foreign Minister Zarif?
The letter noted that Kerry “has also admitted that he secretly met with Mr. Zarif twice during the previous Administration to undermine President Trump while his Administration planned to withdraw from the deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and restore the United States’ ability to deter Iranian aggression.”
The lawmakers argue that Kerry’s relationship with Zarif “and indiscretion on matters of importance to the U.S.-Israel security relationship may negatively impact the Biden Administration’s ability to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Barr told the Daily Caller that if the report is true, Kerry “severely undermined the American-Israeli alliance to provide intelligence about one of our most trusted allies to the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism.”
“John Kerry and Joe Biden have proven to be pro-Iranian before by championing the failed Iran Nuclear Deal, but this type of betrayal of a staunch ally is simply unconscionable,” Barr said.
Zeldin said that if it’s proven “that Kerry actively undermined one of America’s staunchest allies, he needs to resign from the Biden administration immediately and have his security clearance revoked.”
Seth Lipsky of the New York Sun urged Congress to get Kerry to testify on the matter.
He noted that the first time Kerry testified before the Foreign Relations Committee, 50 years ago, he “echoed Viet Cong emissaries he’d met with in Paris.”
“So putting Mr. Kerry under oath on this matter would be a fitting coda to his career,” Lipsky wrote.
The New York Sun editorial board noted that after Kerry left the Navy, he went to Paris, where he met with “enemy envoys,” in violation of U.S. law.
“Then he brought their talking points back and began arguing for them here at home — including in his testimony before the Senate,” the paper said.
“This is what has remained so horrifying about the event. It’s not just that Mr. Kerry accused his fellow GIs of committing war crimes. It’s that he argued the communist case.”
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