Pompeo accuses John Kerry of ‘actively undermining’ US policy on Iran

John Kerry representing Vietnamese Veterans Against the War at a protest in Washington D.C. April 20-21 1971

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted his predecessor John Kerry for "unseemly and unprecedented" behavior after Kerry said he had met Iranian officials since leaving office.

Asked if he thought Kerry's meeting had been illegal, Pompeo said he would leave the "legal determinations to others".

Kerry said such meetings are appropriate, later explaining during a television interview on Fox News that "every secretary of state, former secretary of state continues to meet with foreign leaders, goes to security conferences, goes around the world". And according to him, right, you don't have to take my word for it, he - these are his answers, he was talking to them.

Kerry said he did not try to "coach" Iran through the Trump administration's rejection of the JCPOA, a nuclear deal with Iran implemented under Kerry's watch.

"What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented", Pompeo told a news conference, adding that he "ought not to engage in that kind of behaviour". "It's inconsistent with what foreign policy in the United States is, as directed by this president and it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged on this". He also said that he saw Mr Kerry in Munich earlier this year, along with former United States energy secretary Ernest Moniz and former USA negotiator Wendy Sherman, where he suspected they met Iranian officials. Secretary (Henry) Kissinger has done it for decades with Russian Federation and China.

Kerry has said that he met "three or four times" with Iranian Foreign Mininister Javad Zarif.

The law Trump invoked - the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA - requires registration and transparency by people or companies acting on behalf of foreign governments, political parties or individuals.


Kerry also said that he thought Trump should have stayed in the Iran deal, arguing that under the deal "you have China, Russia, these other countries with you in the effort to leverage this different behavior from Iran rather than unilaterally pulling out and isolating yourself and making it much more hard to sit down with any Iranian". Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

"I think you understand what I wish it is that former secretaries of state-all of them, from either political party-ought not to be engaged in", Pompeo said.

As of this writing, Kerry, who is now promoting his new book "Every Day is Extra", has not responded to Trump's or Pompeo's broadsides.

Kerry said that he has conducted sensitive diplomacy on his own with Iran, discussing the nuclear deal, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the US earlier this year.

Such meetings, between a private US citizen and foreign official, are not against the law and not necessarily inappropriate or a violation of federal regulations, but Trump and his allies say they are evidence that former Obama administration officials are trying to subvert Trump's policy. "He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!"

Trump accused Kerry Thursday of having "illegal meetings". A third is reported to have occurred at the United Nations headquarters, which is not technically on USA soil. He told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he has criticized the Trump administration in these discussions for not pursuing negotiations with Iran.

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