Reports of Kerry Disclosure to Zarif on Israeli Strikes ‘Disturbing,’ Says Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief
Reports that former secretary of state John Kerry disclosed information about covert Israeli airstrikes to his Iranian counterpart in 2015 could harm Israel’s ability to share sensitive security information with the United States, Algemeiner editor-in-chief Dovid Efune said in a Tuesday interview with The First network.
“The disclosure of this kind of information … if this is found to be true, is devastating to the ability of US allies to trust the United States on national security issues — especially in that very, very delicate region in the Middle East.”
In a leaked recording reported by The New York Times on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Kerry informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria over 200 times, during negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Kerry, who is now serving as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate in the Biden Administration, denied Zarif’s account in a Monday tweet, saying, “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.”
Efune said Tuesday that even if Iran had already known about the Israeli strikes, the alleged conversation speaks to “a much larger and worrying, disturbing attitude” among some members of the Obama and Biden administrations with respect to Israeli national security interests.
“They have to recognize — even if they have a different worldview and a different perspective of what can can be achieved with talks and diplomacy with the Iranian regime — [that] the Iranian regime is an enemy, Israel is an ally, and they can never forget that dynamic,” Efune said.
“And the way that they are interacting with and treating and maintaining dialogue between those two countries, and two interested parties has to reflect that. If it does not reflect that, then something is very, very wrong with how things are being conducted by this administration in the Middle East,” he continued.
On Thursday, a semi-official Iranian news agency reported that the Islamic Republic imposed travel bans on 15 people over alleged involvement in the leak of the recording.
The tape — in which Zarif said he had “zero” influence over Iranian foreign policy and complained about the power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — has caused controversy in the country, with some lawmakers calling for the foreign minister to resign. In the recording, Zarif appeared surprised to learn of the information from Kerry rather than directly from the IRGC.
“It’s important to publicly telegraph to all of the players in the region, and give the Israelis the confidence, that the United States is going to act in a way that is responsible for an allied power,” Efune commented.
He said Israel needed to feel that intelligence information shared with the US was “not going to compromise their security in any way, and is not going to end up in the hands of not just a different allied country, but an enemy — the greatest enemy that the Jewish state faces in the region and that the western world is contending with in the region.”