Former US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday addressed reports that he has been speaking with Iranian officials in an attempt to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers.
In an interview on Fox News’ The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, Kerry was asked how many times since he left office has he met with the Iranians or Iranian representative?
“A few times, two or three times,” admitted Kerry, who also said the talks with the officials was “about their behavior and what are the ways forward in order to try to redefine a security arrangement for the region that works for everybody. And if Iran is going to continue to meddle in Yemen or to meddle in other countries, Saudi Arabia, elsewhere -- or fund Hezbollah or mess around with Syria or be involved in Iraq, we have legitimate concerns.”
“What people don't realize is, even in the agreement that we made with Iran, with respect to their nuclear weapon, we kept the sanctions on missiles. We kept the sanctions on human rights abuses,” continued Kerry.
He opined that “by pulling out unilaterally [from the Iranian nuclear deal] the president has actually made it harder for an Iranian leader to deal with them.”
Kerry was asked whether he has been telling the Iranians to wait out President Donald Trump. Kerry did not directly deny the claim, saying only, “Well, I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump. I mean, you've got our allies remarkably, the people that we have worked with the closest through the years, are sitting there saying, what's next?”
Kerry then added, “Let me be crystal clear. When I met with the Iranians, the policy of the United States was still to be in the Iran deal because the president had not decided and not pulled out.”
“Secondly,” he continued, “every secretary of state, former secretary of state continues to meet with foreign leaders, goes to security conferences, goes around the world. We all do that. And we have conversations with people about the state of affairs in the world in order to understand them. We don't negotiate. We are not involved in interfering with policy. But we certainly have reasonable discussions about nuclear weapons, the world, China, different policies obviously.”
The Boston Globe revealed in May that Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in an effort to save the deal, angering Trump who in turn blasted Kerry on Twitter.
Kerry has repeatedly argued in favor of the Iran deal, which he helped broker while serving as Secretary of State.
Several months ago, he stated that the presentation of Iran's nuclear archive by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which Netanyahu proved that Iran's leaders had lied about their nuclear ambitions, showed why the deal must remain in place.
"Every detail PM Netanyahu presented yesterday was every reason the world came together to apply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement - because the threat was real and had to be stopped. It's working!" Kerry wrote.
Last November, Kerry warned Congress that it would be "extraordinarily dangerous" for it to reject the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
He warned in late October that Trump risked driving Iran towards nuclear proliferation if he cancels the deal.
More recently, Kerry ripped Trump in an interview on CBS for deciding to leave the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, claiming the President “doesn't know what he's talking about”.