In 2019, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in New York with Robert Malley, the Obama administration’s negotiator of the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran and President Joe Biden’s current special envoy for Iran. According to the Washington Times (EXCLUSIVE: Biden team colluded with Iran to foil Trump diplomacy), this was an attempt to undermine the Trump administration and “lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Zarif at least twice during the Trump administration.
The Washington Times’ Ben Wolfgang and Guy Taylor claim that in September 2019 President Trump wanted to use the UN General Assembly meeting to open a backchannel of communication with top Iranian officials to ease the escalating tensions with Tehran, but the effort failed.
Apparently, Malley torpedoed the Trump White House efforts, forging a pact between Obama administration veterans and Iran the allowed the Iranians to bypass Trump entirely, in anticipation of a Democratic win in 2020.
The Washington Times cites “numerous sources,” including members of the US intelligence community, who say Zarif maintained close ties with Washington liberals who advocate a more “accommodating” Iran policy. They amplify Zarif’s talking points, giving Iran influence over American public opinion.
One former US official described Zarif as “the signal for an echo chamber internationally that has been established over time.” Other sources described a “web” of activity tied to prominent think tanks across the United States, as well as lobbying efforts that reached directly into the White House during the Obama years.
One major player in Iran’s influence machine in the US, Professor Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, was exposed in late January by the Justice Dept. in a criminal complaint in federal court in Brooklyn charging Afrasiabi with “acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).”
According to the DOJ (See: Iran Says US Violated Human Rights of Spy Who Wrote for the NY Times), Afrasiabi’s columns appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, and HuffPost. He also appeared on Chinese and Russian state media in the US. His writings matched perfectly Iran’s positions on all world affairs, and many of his columns were written in consultation with Iranian diplomatic staff. Afrasiabi also helped write an April 2015 column in the New York Times by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
One former senior US official told the Washington Times that Zarif held meetings with anti-Trump Democrats in 2017, 2018, and 2019, before the Trump administration withdrew his visa in 2020. His goal was “to devise a political strategy to undermine the Trump administration” and to build up support for the JCPOA in preparation for a Democratic presidential victory in 2020.
In May 2018, the Boston Globe reported that former Secretary Kerry had been meeting with Zarif to discuss ways of preventing the Trump administration from abandoning JCPOA (Kerry is quietly seeking to salvage Iran deal he helped craft).
According to the report, Kerry traveled to New York in April 2018, and met with Zarif at the UN. It was the second time in two months the two had met to discuss salvaging the nuclear weapons deal that they and former President Barack Obama had put together, and which President Trump was in the process of deciding to either nix or fix.
Kerry was also quietly talking with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union official Federica Mogherini and French President Emmanuel Macron.
To remind you, the Boston Globe report was published one week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed to the world that not only did Iran have a very advanced secret nuclear weapons program at the time of the signing of JCPOA, but in violation of Obama’s nuclear agreement, they never revealed the extent of that program to inspectors and secretly maintained all their weapons research, which the Mossad found and brought back to Israel.
Another reminder: Obama’s nuclear deal freed up $150 billion to Iran, which Iran promptly directed towards sponsoring international terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East region. Iran also began testing its ballistic missile program and was working on figuring out how to fit a nuclear payload onto their ballistic missiles.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner at the time, Prof. Alan Dershowitz claimed that Kerry was violating the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the US in negotiations with foreign governments without authorization, and has never been enforced in its 200 years.
Someone should tell the DOJ, soon to be headed by Judge Merrick Garland, a man of sound judgment and a remarkable understanding of the law according to both Democrats and Republicans, that Malley’s and Kerry’s collaboration with an enemy state to sabotage US foreign policy may have been more than a felony under the Logan Act (the penalty for which used to be a fine of $5,000).
Judge Garland should be made aware that Malley and Kerry may have committed treason, the penalty for which ranges from death to imprisonment for not less than five years, to a fine of not less than $10,000.