Former Secretary of State John Kerry is denying Iran’s claims that he told the regime Israel was behind hundreds of attacks in Syria.
“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since,” Kerry tweeted Monday.
I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since. https://t.co/BTOdFE1khW
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 26, 2021
Kerry’s forceful denial comes as the Biden administration appointee faces calls to resign for allegedly ratting out Israel, one of the United States’ strongest allies, to Iran, one of the leading state-sponsors of terrorism. Kerry’s statement also comes after the White House and State Department declined to comment on the allegations, saying that the Biden administration would not comment on leaked materials.
The allegations against Kerry, who served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, spring from a leaked recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the recording, Zarif said that he heard from Kerry that Israel was behind more than 200 attacks on Iranian interests in Syria.
“We’re not going to comment on leaked tapes,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday when asked about the Zarif tape.
State Department spokesman Ned Price made a similar statement in response to a question over Kerry’s alleged conversations with Zarif.
“This is purportedly leaked material, can’t speak to the authenticity, can’t speak to the accuracy of it, can’t speak to any motives that may be behind its dissemination,” Price said. “I would just make the broad point that if you go back and look at press reporting from the time, this certainly was not secret and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly on the record.”
In 2018, Kerry said that he had spoken with Zarif multiple times since leaving office in January 2017, ostensibly over the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration had set about pulling out of. Kerry told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, according to a transcript of the September 12, 2018, show:
HH: Let’s move to Iran. Every Day Is Extra is full of detail about the JCPOA. And if I’m correct, did you spend more time talking in person or on the phone with Javad Zarif than any other foreign minister? Maybe Lavrov, but was he your number one interlocutor?
JH: I’m not sure. I never did a tally of the numbers, but I spent a lot of time with my European colleagues also at NATO in many other meetings. We spent a lot of time on Syria in the international Syria support group with our other colleagues. I mean, certainly Javad was up there. But I spent a lot of time with France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia. Those were the principal interlocutors, and I’ve never divided it up.
HH: Okay, it’s been reported you’ve met with him a couple of times at least since leaving office as well. So you still…
JH: Yes, I have. That’s accurate.
HH: And is it a half dozen times, a dozen times?
JH: No. No, no, no. I met with him at a conference in Norway. I think I saw him in a conference in Munich at the World Economic Forum. So I’ve probably seen him three or four times.
In September 2018, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz announced that Israel was behind over 200 attacks against Iranian interests in the region.