Pompeo On Kerry-Iran Report: ‘While I Was Briefing President Trump, Kerry Was Briefing Zarif’

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted former Secretary of State and now Biden’s climate change czar, John Kerry over reports that he betrayed Israel — an ally of the United States — by telling Iran’s foreign minister that Israel was behind hundreds of attacks on Iranian assets inside Syria.

Fox News wrote: “Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed in recently leaked audio that John Kerry, when he was serving as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, informed him of more than 200 Israeli operations in Syria.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Pompeo, who served as Secretary of State under former President Donald Trump, blasted Kerry’s decision to meet with Zarif and enjoined him to explain the reason behind the reports to the American people.

“It looks like from this reporting, that it’s confirmed what we can already believe, which was that while I was briefing President Trump, Kerry was briefing Zarif on intelligence that related to Israeli operations, I hope that’s not true,” Pompeo told Fox News host Sean Hannity. 

“John Kerry needs to come forward. Secretary Kerry needs to speak to the American people and explain to them why he was meeting with Zarif. We know he did that, he’s admitted as much, what he was talking about. We believe that he was absolutely telling the Iranians, ‘Hang on, this pressure campaign, the power that’s being exerted by America against you, it’ll be over, we’ll win this election. It’ll just be four years, you can hang in there. Don’t, don’t for a minute negotiate with the Trump team.’”

Pompeo maintained that Kerry “got an awful lot of explaining to do” to clear his side amid the reports — as he also blasted the new Democratic administration for its recent handling of Iran.

“There’s no reason to think that these remarks that Zarif made,  according to The New York Times, they were made in private, he didn’t think they were going to come out, there’s no reason to think that he wasn’t telling you that he was truly surprised that he did not know about these Israeli operations, until Secretary Kerry told him about them,” Pompeo, who is also former director of the Central Intelligence Agency added.

Pompeo on Biden admin’s handling of Iran

During the interview, Pompeo also made comments about the recent actions of the Biden administration towards Iran — warning that using a similar approach done by the US during the Obama administration in dealing with Tehran will only put America at risk as well as its allies in the Middle East.

He lamented how the new Biden administration is responding to the aggression of Iranian Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been harassing US Navy vessels, saying that the former Trump administration was able to solve this problem by telling the Navy that they had permission to “blow [the Iranians] out of the water.”

“We had the same issue. They were driving IRGC, the Expeditionary Forces, the Iranians were driving IRGC Coast Guard cutters close to our ships. President Trump made clear to our naval officers and our sailors you have every right to respond, you have every right to blow them out of the water,” he said. 

“When we did that, and we communicated that to the Iranians, that activity ceased.”

Pompeo noted that the new administration should make sure that US forces “have the ability to defend themselves.”

“When Secretary Kerry was in office last time [Obama administration], when he was the secretary of state, the Iranians not only put cutters around our ships, but they seized our sailors … they were sitting on the pier, they were kneeling down. They were being held by the Iranians and only an apology from Secretary Kerry was able to get them back.”

“That wouldn’t have happened on our watch. It didn’t happen on our watch,” he added.

Aside from the report of Kerry telling on Israel to Iran, The Washington Times also reported in February that Biden’s new climate czar also met with Iran during the Trump administration.

“According to The Times, Kerry and other Obama officials met with Zarif during Trump’s administration ‘in an apparent bid to undermine the Trump team and lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations,’” the report said.

“The attempt at counter diplomacy offers a window into the deep relationships Mr. Zarif forged with influential U.S. liberals over the past decade,” The Times added.

“These relationships blossomed into what high-level national security and intelligence sources say allowed the Iranian regime to bypass Mr. Trump and work directly with Obama administration veterans that Tehran hoped would soon return to power in Washington.”

“Big mistake” to renegotiate with Iran

The US is currently in discussions with Iran in Vienna regarding a potential return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after former President Trump dropped the controversial nuclear deal with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. 

To this, Pompeo said: “We isolated the Iranians like they’d never been isolated before … if we give the Iranians this money again, it reduces American security as well. I do not for the life of me understand why they would give the Iranians something in exchange for almost nothing, just for this thing that appears to be an article of faith for them to go back into this deal.”

“It would be a big mistake. And it puts Americans at risk,” he added.

Pompeo noted that unlike the Obama administration, who negotiated the “disastrous” bill with Iran, the Trump administration “refused” to “appease the Iranian theocracy.”

Earlier, President Trump said that the Iran deal which had the US paying Tehran US$1.7 billion was “defective at its core,” and that “Iran lied” about its nuclear weapon ambitions and continued to pursue its nuclear enrichment program even after the deal with the US.

“In theory, the so-called ‘Iran deal’ was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime.  In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout,” Trump said in 2018.

Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.