Foreign Policy

Obama's Iranian Cabal Still Undermining Trump

A new report says several former officials are meeting with Iran to save the nuclear deal.

Nate Jackson · Jun. 3, 2019

More than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, Barack Obama and his minions are still working on ways to protect the former president’s legacy. One aspect of that effort has been the reportedly ongoing efforts of former Obama officials to undermine Trump’s policy toward Iran.

The Daily Beast reports on the efforts to stop Trump’s “scorched-earth campaign” against Tehran, which includes briefing congressional Democrats:

As the Trump administration sent warplanes and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, a small group of former Obama administration officials reached out to their contacts in the Iranian government, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Their message to Iran: Don’t take Trump’s bait. Stay calm.

Conversations between former Obama officials and Iranian government officials have been ongoing since November 2016. Zarif, who visits the U.S. every year for the U.N. General Assembly in New York, usually meets with lawmakers, think tanks, journalists, and former officials when he is in town.

While The Daily Beast doesn’t name the three officials, the cabal is likely to include at least Ben Rhodes, who confessed to pushing a deceptive narrative on the Iran nuclear deal so as to create a media “echo chamber” to sway public opinion. He explained that seemingly independent experts “were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

Another possible Obama official talking to Iran is John Kerry, the former secretary of state who crafted the Iran deal. Kerry admitted last year to meeting with Zarif “three or four times” since leaving office, and he’s clearly just as invested as Obama is in saving his own legacy. If Kerry isn’t among the three officials in the Beast’s story, he still looms behind the scenes.

In any case, Kerry has a history of imposing himself into foreign affairs and undermining U.S. negotiations, starting with his meetings with the North Vietnamese in Paris in 1971, when he was still a military officer, as the United States was attempting to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War. Put another way, Kerry has a long history of aiding and abetting American enemies, and he should have been charged with treason nearly 50 years ago.

It was just last month that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically rebuked Kerry, saying, “It is ahistorical and completely unhelpful when previous secretaries of state are continuing to engage in the tasks that they engaged in when they were the secretary of state. I’ll leave it at that in the sense of it’s time to get off the stage for the previous administration. I understand they have different views than we have; they are entitled to those views. But talking with senior leaders around the world and suggesting to them somehow that waiting out this administration is the best course of action for those countries is something that is unheard of. It is fundamentally different than any previous administration has undertaken, and they ought to leave the foreign policy to us.”

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