Pompeo blasts Kerry's Iran meetings as 'beyond inappropriate'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted his predecessor John Kerry for "unseemly and unprecedented" behavior ...

Posted: Sep 15, 2018 7:10 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2018 7:10 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted his predecessor John Kerry for "unseemly and unprecedented" behavior after Kerry said he had met Iranian officials since leaving office.

"What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department Friday.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Iran

Iran nuclear development

John Kerry

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Mike Pompeo

Political Figures - US

US federal government

White House

Eastern Europe

Embargoes and sanctions

Europe

International relations

International relations and national security

Investigations

Politics

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Government departments and authorities

North America

State departments and diplomatic services

The Americas

United States

"This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world's largest state sponsor of terror and according to him, he was talking to them, he was telling them to wait out this administration,' Pompeo added.

"You can't find precedent for this in US history and the secretary ought not engage in this kind of behavior," Pompeo continued, in answer to a question. "It's beyond inappropriate."

During interviews to promote his new book, Kerry told an interviewer that he has met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif three or four times since leaving office and that their talks touched on the international nuclear agreement, to which Iran, the EU, Russia and China still adhere.

A spokesman for Kerry ridiculed Pompeo's assertion that Kerry was acting in unprecedented ways, adding that Kerry had briefed Pompeo on his conversations with Iranian officials so he would be aware of Iran's thinking.

"Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State, and in a long phone conversation with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year, he went into great detail about what he had learned about the Iranian's view," Matt Summers said. "No secrets were kept from this administration."

"Like America's closest allies, Kerry believes it is important that the commitments Iran made under the nuclear agreement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective," Summers added. "He was advocating for what was wholly consistent with US policy at the time. There's nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts."

Kerry, who developed a relationship with Zarif over the course of years-long negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal, has publicly criticized Trump's decision to walk away from the deal without a replacement.

'Dangerous and ill-advised'

In a Sept. 9 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Kerry said the withdrawal was "a very dangerous and ill-advised move that is not based on any broad strategy that is drawing other countries to the table to be supportive of it. Rather, I think it represents a campaign promise made by the President ... which has no basis in achieving the goals the President has set out, if there are goals."

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that Kerry's meetings were "illegal."

"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 tweeted. "He told them to wait out the Trump Administration!"

Kerry responded on Friday, tweeting to Trump that he should be more concerned about the guilty plea of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and cheekily including a link for Trump to buy his book online.

"Mr. President," Kerry tweeted, "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, Every Day Is Extra."

In a second tweet Kerry added, "PS - I recorded the audio version, not Omarosa."

Asked if he thought Kerry's meeting had been illegal, Pompeo said he would leave the "legal determinations to others."

He added that, "actively undermining US policy as a former secretary of state is literally unheard of."

Pompeo conveyed that he had been aware of at least some of Kerry's meetings, telling reporters that Kerry, along with lead US negotiator Wendy Sherman and former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, had been present at an international security conference in Germany he had attended. Describing the former Obama administration officials as "the troika," Pompeo said, "I am confident that they met with their troika counterparts," referring to Iranian officials.

And he added, in a reference to Kerry, that "I wasn't in the meeting but I am reasonably confident he wasn't there in support of US policy."

After Donald Trump's election but before he became president and took office, his transition team was accused of reaching out to the governments of both Israel and Russia to undermine Obama administration policies.

Pompeo singled out Russia for undermining sanctions pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. "Russia has actively attempted to undermine the UN Security Council Resolutions," Pompeo said.

Sanctions, the top US diplomat said, "are central to President Trump's efforts to convince Chairman Kim that full, final, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is necessary and that it needs to be done in a way that the world can see that there's been a strategic change in Chairman Kim's core understanding of how he will provide a better future for the North Korean people."

Pompeo also pointed to Russia as he touted Trump's recent executive order mandating sanctions on anyone interfering in US elections.

"Russia has been particularly aggressive in using its cyber capabilities, disinformation and other covert means to attempt to sow instability in America," Pompeo said. The "State Department will continue to work closely with other agencies to identify, expose -- and expose foreign interference directed against American elections no matter which entity initiated it."

Critics have said that the executive order lacks teeth, as it is up to the President to decide whether he wants to pursue sanctions or not, and that it is largely redundant. An executive order authorizing sanctions for cyber-related attacks on the US already exists, signed by President Barack Obama.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 69°
Florence
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 74°
Fayetteville
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
Etowah333447
Calhoun332039
Morgan318126
Houston269922
Elmore251947
DeKalb234619
St. Clair221335
Walker220780
Talladega205026
Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
Dallas173626
Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
Escambia155725
Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
Macon47620
Henry4674
Fayette4189
Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 181439

Reported Deaths: 2216
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby29800446
Davidson25840289
Hamilton903388
Rutherford890287
Knox880672
Williamson503036
Sumner462993
Wilson331841
Putnam301937
Montgomery292243
Bradley281816
Out of TN281123
Unassigned28036
Madison259656
Sevier250013
Blount242523
Maury218323
Robertson215133
Washington212332
Sullivan203831
Hamblen183125
Tipton171117
Trousdale16477
Hardeman151325
Gibson149219
Wayne14785
Bedford129516
Dyer125312
Dickson117612
Cumberland114317
Anderson111711
Fayette111118
Carter110827
Weakley110419
Henderson110119
Loudon10996
Greene107936
Coffee106912
Obion10669
Jefferson105114
McMinn104524
Macon100719
Warren9977
Monroe99416
Hardin95414
Lawrence93911
Lauderdale92815
Haywood90016
Franklin8757
Lake8712
Bledsoe8444
Roane8284
Carroll81617
Cheatham78410
McNairy78316
Rhea76611
White7639
Hawkins74716
Cocke7309
Marshall6985
Overton6734
Smith66910
Johnson6352
Henry5949
Chester5769
Lincoln5761
Giles54917
DeKalb54111
Hickman5154
Crockett49719
Marion4937
Decatur4556
Claiborne4234
Fentress4223
Campbell4153
Polk37511
Grainger3462
Benton3319
Union3311
Jackson3024
Morgan3023
Unicoi2741
Cannon2690
Grundy2305
Humphreys2243
Sequatchie2193
Meigs2163
Scott1972
Clay1825
Houston1780
Lewis1691
Stewart1672
Van Buren1490
Moore1451
Perry1400
Hancock1063
Pickett942

Community Events