Kerry strongly responds to criticism over talking with Zarif, says there’s ‘nothing unusual’

September 15, 2018 - 17:15

TEHRAN – On Friday, the spokesman for former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry strongly defended dialogue between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying “there’s nothing unusual”.

Matt Summers said Kerry stays in touch with former counterparts around the world just like every previous secretary of state.

Kerry and Zarif were the chief negotiators that produced the landmark nuclear agreement in 2015.

“Let’s cut through the distraction and talk about real facts, not alternative facts. Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his foremr counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian’s view,”   Summers wrote on his tweeter on Friday.

What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the State Department to be hijacked for political theatrics."Summers, “No secret were kept from” the Trump administration.

He added, “Like America’s closest allies, Kerry believes it is important that the commitments Iran made under the nucelar agreeement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective.”

Talking to reporters at the State Department on Friday, Secretary of States Mike Pompeo said, "What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented."

Pompeo also claimed, "You can't find precedent for this in U.S. history and the secretary ought not engage in this kind of behavior."  He added,"It's beyond inappropriate."

In response, Summers said, "There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts. Secretary Kissinger has done it for decades with Russia and China. What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the State Department to be hijacked for political theatrics."

During interviews to promote his new book, Kerry told an interviewer that he has met with Zarif three or four times since leaving office and that their talks touched on the international nuclear agreement, to which Iran, the EU, Russia and China still adhere.

On Thursday, Trump also claimed that Kerry's meetings were "illegal."

"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," Trump tweeted. "He told them to wait out the Trump Administration!"

Kerry responded on Friday, tweeting to Trump that he should be more concerned about the guilty plea of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and cheekily including a link for Trump to buy his book online, CNN reported.

“Mr. President," Kerry tweeted, "you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran's FM. But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book, Every Day Is Extra."

In a second tweet Kerry added, "PS - I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa."

In a Sept. 9 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Kerry said the withdrawal was "a very dangerous and ill-advised move that is not based on any broad strategy that is drawing other countries to the table to be supportive of it. Rather, I think it represents a campaign promise made by the President ... which has no basis in achieving the goals the President has set out, if there are goals."


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