Former Secretary of State John Kerry could be in very big trouble if he’s meddling in the U.S.-Iran negotiations — because President Donald Trump has already mused the idea of jailing the former Obama insider.
The Daily Beast reported that anonymous officials from former President Barack Obama’s administration have been coaching Iranian leaders on how to negotiate with Trump’s White House.
The anonymous insider has also been meeting with Congressional Democrats to get the party — and Iran — on the same page… against Trump.
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“This would explain how they all ended up echoing the same talking points about [White House national security adviser John] Bolton and warmongering at the same time. Obama administration officials have been shuttling between [Capitol Hill] and Iranian officials to help make sure everybody is on the same page,” a congressional staffer working for the Republican Party told the Washington Examiner.
If this anonymous Obama insider that’s friends with top Democratic Party leaders is Kerry, it could mean jail time. For years, there have been calls to prosecute Kerry for his Iranian actions since leaving office.
Kerry admitted to violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act in December, just months after Daniel Greenfield of Frontpage Magazine accused Kerry of violating the Logan Act.
Greenfield noted a report in the Boston Globe from last year that said Kerry met with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif for what the newspaper called “unusual shadow diplomacy.” Kerry even admitted he was trying to salvage the Iran nuclear deal and had met with Iranian officials a number of times.
“Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside,” The Globe reported.
“If we have an actual rule of law, then there will be a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Kerry’s collusion with Iran,” Greenfield wrote. “Any meetings between members of the Iran Lobby, both official and unofficial, will be eavesdropped on by the NSA and their names unmasked at the request of Trump officials.”
Despite the “shadow diplomacy” of Obama officials undermining the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the U.S. is ready for unconditional discussions with Iran in an effort to ease rising tensions that have sparked fears of conflict. The United States will not relent in trying to pressure the Islamic Republic to change its behavior in the Middle East, America’s top diplomat warned.
Pompeo repeated long-standing U.S. accusations that Iran is bent on destabilizing the region, but he also held out the possibility of talks as President Donald Trump has suggested. Trump himself had raised the idea of talks “without preconditions” in July 2018, although that was well before tensions had reached their current point.
In the 11 months since then, the U.S. has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran, first in November and then again last month, targeting the most lucrative sectors of its economy. The action has drawn Iran’s ire and strong words of threatened retaliation.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said the U.S. must return to the historic 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from in May 2018. He was quoted by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency as saying that if the U.S. “realizes that the way it chose was incorrect, then we can sit at the negotiating table and solve any problem.”
While the latest offer may not pan out, Pompeo made it during a visit to Switzerland, the country that long has represented American interests in Iran, as part of a European trip aimed at assuring wary leaders that the U.S. is not eager for war.
“We’re prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with his Swiss counterpart. “We’re ready to sit down with them, but the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”
Pompeo thanked Switzerland, which serves as the “protecting power” for the United States in Iran, for looking after Americans detained there. Trump administration officials have suggested they would look positively at any move to release at least five American citizens and at least two permanent U.S. residents currently imprisoned in Iran.
Pompeo declined to comment on whether he had made a specific request to the Swiss about the detainees. But, he said the release of unjustly jailed Americans in Iran and elsewhere is a U.S. priority.
“If they want to talk, I’m available,” Trump said last week, even as Pompeo and Bolton were stepping up warnings that any attack on American interests by Iran or its proxies would draw a rapid and significant U.S. response.
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The U.S. is sending hundreds of additional troops to the region after blaming Iran and Iranian proxies for recent sabotage to tankers in the Persian Gulf and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.
Some analysts believe Iran is acting to restore leverage it has lost since Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and the U.S. reimposed sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s economy.
Last month, the administration ended sanctions waivers that had allowed certain countries to continue to import Iranian oil, the country’s main source of revenue, without U.S. penalties. The U.S. also designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a “foreign terrorist organization,” adding new layers of sanctions to foreigners that might do business with it or its affiliates.
Despite the U.S. withdrawal, Iran has remained a party to the nuclear deal that involves the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany, and the European Union. Iran has continued to broadly comply with the terms, which called for it to curb its nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief. On Friday, however, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported that Iran may be in violation of limits on the number of advanced centrifuges it can use.
Pompeo declined to comment on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency other than to say the U.S. is “watching closely” what is going on in Iran.
“The world should be mindful of how we are watching closely how Iran is complying with the requirements that were set out,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article