TEHRAN US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have accused Obama-era official John Kerry of “actively undermining” US policy on Iran after he admitted meeting Iran’s foreign minister “three or four times” since leaving office.
“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 said in Twitter post on Friday.
“He told them to wait out the Trump Administration!” he said, ending his Tweet with the word “BAD!”
Meanwhile, Pompeo told a news conference that Kerry’s meetings with Mohammad Javad Zarif were “inconsistent” with US foreign policy and “beyond inappropriate”.
“You can’t find precedent for this in US history, and Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behaviour,” an agitated Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.
“It’s inconsistent with what foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president, and it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged.”
Kerry, who negotiated the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which Trump scrapped this year, said during a tour to promote his new book “Every Day is Extra” that he had met Zarif “three or four times” since Trump had entered the White House.
A spokesperson for Kerry said in a statement to The Hill on Friday: “Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous secretary of state.
“There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts … What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the State Department to be hijacked for political theatrics,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Kerry took to Twitter to respond to Trump, saying: “Mr. President, 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.”
Trump supporters immediately leapt on Kerry’s actions as evidence of “treason,” with some calling for him to go to prison.
A spokesperson for Kerry said there was nothing improper about his conduct.