Trump, Pompeo accuse Kerry of 'undermining' U.S. policy on Iran

Trump, Pompeo accuse Kerry of 'undermining' U.S. policy on Iran

Trump, Pompeo accuse Kerry of 'undermining' U.S. policy on Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo excoriated his Obama-era predecessor on Friday, calling John Kerry's meeting with Iranian officials - in which he may have advised them to "wait out" the Trump administration - an unprecedented violation of diplomatic protocol.

"This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism", Mr Pompeo said of Mr Kerry's meetings, adding that just last week Iran directed its militias in Iraq to fire Katyusha rockets at the U.S. consulate in Basra.

"You can't find precedent for this in US history, and Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior", Pompeo continued.

Manisha Singh, the assistant Secretary of State for economic affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that such meetings would be "very inappropriate".

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to a question while testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled "An Update on American Diplomacy to Advance Our National Security Strategy" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2018.

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Kerry defended his actions out of office, saying "everybody does it", citing Henry Kissinger as an example and adding that there's "nothing unusual about it". Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

Pompeo's sharp criticism of Kerry comes a day after President Donald Trump accused the former secretary of state of "illegal" meetings on Iran in a late-night tweet.

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 replied with a chuckle, "I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump", but he said that was in regard to other matters, not the Iran deal.

"I'm confident that they met with their troika counterparts", Pompeo continued.

Kerry's meetings do not appear to violate FARA, but some have suggested they could be in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the USA government without authorization, though no one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the law. Also unclear is whether any Iranians specifically asked Kerry for advice. "The devil's always in the details", Rosenstein told the AP.

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It was first reported by the Boston Globe that Kerry met with Zarif after leaving office in May.

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The meetings took place apparently when Trump was taking the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. "Stay away from negotiations John, you are hurting your country!" he said on May 8.

"No, that's not my job, and my coaching him would not, you know, that's not how it works", Kerry told Hewitt. "What I have done is tried to elicit from him (Zarif) what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better".

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