Former Secretary of State and current United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is accused of spilling the beans to Iran on Israeli operations in Syria. 

The accusations are based on an audiotape recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the recording, Zarif claims that while Kerry was the Secretary of State, he discussed with him more than 200 Israeli operations carried out in Syria against Iranian targets.

John Kerry had a myopic obsession with reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. Despite what many in the U.S. felt about Tehran, Kerry tried to cozy up to the ayatollahs. He also did his best to do the Iranians’ bidding when it came to Israel. Kerry wanted to go down in history as the man who brought Iran into the 21st century whatever the cost.

After leaving office, Kerry, as a private citizen, conducted additional meetings with Zarif acting as a sounding board for Tehran. At the time, the Trump administration railed at what was criticized as violations of the Logan Act. The act bans private citizens from attempting to carrying out U.S. foreign policy. His behavior has also raised questions about what Kerry told Iranian officials over the years.

All May Not Be as it Appears

Therefore, the bait was too hard to resist for many conservative Republicans in Congress with some even calling Kerry’s actions treasonous. Yet, the news should generate a second look.
John Kerry denied allegations from Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif that he tipped off Iran about Israeli covert actions in Syria.

What is known is that the tapes are real. Zarif recorded them with an Iranian think tank with the purpose of detailing his career. The tapes found their way to London, to the offices of Iran International TV, a U.K.-based oppositionist station that details abuses by the Tehran regime. The station shared the information with the New York Times which reported on it.

Nevertheless, despite how many feel about Kerry, Zarif’s statements are almost laughable.

In the recording, Zarif claims that he had little control of Iran’s foreign policy. Further, he says that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) kept him out of the loop and that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wasn’t aware of MG Qassem Soleimani’s intervention into diplomacy.

Yet, the kicker is Zarif’s claim of not knowing that Israel had launched hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria and that he only found out about it when Kerry broke the news to him. 

“John Kerry informed me that Israel attacked [Iranian troops and proxies] 200 times in Syria,” Zarif said.

“You didn’t know?” the interviewer asked.

“No. No,” Zarif answered.

Zarif’s Statements Strain Credibility

That dog won’t hunt. Firstly, it is no secret that the Israelis have launched countless airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria. The Israelis have even admitted, although rarely, to conducting several airstrikes. Further, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have frequently stated that Israel will not tolerate Iranian bases close to its borders. 

Israel is a favorite target for Iran’s ire and Tehran has called for Iranians to avenge Israeli attacks. Therefore, it is hardly believable that Zarif wasn’t even aware of what has been transpiring in his own country and being broadcast on Iranian and international news outlets. 

Additionally, it should be noted that Zarif has made a career of making outlandish and patently false statements. 

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Are the Tapes an Attempt to Throw Kerry Under the Bus?

Zarif is painting himself as a victim of the “hard-liners” in Iran while basically throwing Kerry under the bus. He is trying to paint the picture that Kerry was tipping him off to what the Israelis were up to in Syria. 

Kerry, after a decade of schmoozing Zarif and the Iranian regime, was shown what they think of him and his efforts. He issued a vehement denial on social media Monday night.

“This story and these allegations are unequivocally false.”

“This never happened – either when I was secretary of state or since,” John Kerry tweeted.
An Israeli airstrike in Syria. Did former State Department head Kerry tip-off Iran about these strikes? (Majd Fahd/ Twitter)

Even staunch conservative Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said that he didn’t know if the Kerry tapes are trustworthy. Nevertheless, he correctly added that they should be looked into further.

Still, Kerry brought a lot of this on himself with his self-serving meetings with Zarif and attempt to act as an extra Secretary of State during the Trump administration. John Kerry is hardly a sympathetic figure and as much as some would love the allegations in the tapes to be true this does not seem to be the case.

More likely, the tape is just another Iranian disinformation attempt and a self-serving move for Zarif and the “moderates” in Iran.

After all, the ayatollahs run Iran: the rest will either fall in line or be replaced.