FILE – In this Jan. 16, 2016 file-pool photo, Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal. Donald Trump isn’t going to rip up the Iran nuclear deal on Day One as president, but his vows to renegotiate the terms and increase enforcement could imperil an agreement that has put off the threat of Tehran developing atomic weapons. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP, File)
When Donald Trump accused former Secretary of State John Kerry in early May of violating the Logan Act for allegedly communicating with Iran and advising them on how to stonewall the Trump administration’s budding relationship with the Middle Eastern nation, Kerry’s spokesperson was quick to dismiss the notion.
“[Trump’s] wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe,” the Kerry spokesman said. “Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the president would focus on solving foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”
The notion that the U.S. and the Trump administration should be making decisions about what the world wants — and whether or not that statement is even remotely true — is a compelling question for another time. But it’s almost certainly clear, according to Adam Kredo at The Washington Free Beacon, that Kerry and other Obama administration faithful still remaining on The Hill have indeed been talking with Iran and sowing the seeds of discord. While Kredo doesn’t say it directly, it’s clear they may have even been using the press (shocking!) to do it.
Acela corridor headlines in the last week have been almost unanimous in declaring that Trump is provoking war with Iran, and how disastrous and unconscionably irresponsible that is. The Trump administration has pushed back, warning that Iran has been the aggressor. Trump even told reporters at a press event that they didn’t want to know what he knew about Iran’s provocations.
None of that has mattered in the court of public opinion, and Democrats are amplifying the message that the U.S. is poking Iran and not the other way around.
Kredo, however, suggests that this is all smoke and mirrors, however; and that former Obama officials have been stoking the flames of negative publicity using social media and even meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to “drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and his national security team.”
As tensions mount between the United States and Iran, leading Democrats have become embroiled in controversy for widely repeating anti-Trump talking points first issued by Iran’s hardline regime.
Additionally, former top officials from the Obama administration have taken to social media and other outlets to push a narrative that Trump is at odds with his hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton over how far to go in punishing Tehran for its global support of terrorism and continued efforts to secure contested nuclear technology.
It has become increasingly clear in recent days that these former officials and their Democratic allies in Congress are seeking to build support for the United States to reenter the Iran nuclear deal should a Democrat defeat Trump in the next election, as the Washington Free Beacon has reported in past weeks.
Kredo details the story of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D., Calif.), who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the fact that the contact information for Zarif — who, by the way, was a leader in drafting the Iran deal with the Obama administration — showed up on her phone.
Kredo also quotes anonymous officials he describes as being a part of the Iran debate as saying they are fairly horrified by Democrats’ on the Hill and their efforts to return to Obama’s policies as it relates to Iran.
“Obama’s echo chamber and their pro-Iran deal allies in Congress are putting partisan politics over country, and have the chutzpah to literally repeat the Iranian regime’s talking points,” one senior GOP congressional official, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Kredo.
“The truth is that, under Obama’s disgraceful and dangerous nuclear deal, Iran got access to over $100 billion in immediate sanctions and a green light to ramp up its support for terrorism and militancy in the Middle East,” the source said. “Iran, under Obama’s watch, joined forces with Russia to prop up the Assad regime [in Syria], which repeatedly used chemical weapons and barrel bombs on civilians and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians.”
“While Team Obama stood idly by as Iran-backed aggression ravaged the Middle East, President Trump is maximizing coercive economic pressure on the Iranian regime and deterring and punishing Iranian-backed aggression against American interests,” the source concluded.
While the headlines would have Americans believe Trump is trying to lead the country into war with Iran — and he has just committed troops to the region — the truth may be closer to a wag-the-dog scenario emanating from the former administration and its faithful adherents who still hold positions on capitol hill.
Oh, and of course, the press.