Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has claimed that the former US Secretary of State John Kerry provided him information of hundreds of covert Israeli operations in Syria, a recently leaked audio recordings has revealed.
According to the leaked audio obtained and published by the New York Times and other outlets yesterday, a closed-door discussion can be heard taking place between Zarif and an Iranian economist. During that meeting, Zarif stated that Kerry had informed him of over 200 covert Israeli operations against Iranian targets in Syria while serving as Secretary of State.
Kerry, who currently serves as the special presidential envoy for climate on the National Security Council under President Joe Biden's administration, was a key figure in the creation of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
Following former President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal in 2018, Kerry was revealed to have controversially held secret meetings with Zarif and other Iranian officials in Paris to discuss options of cooperation, despite not holding a position in office at the time.
The claims by Zarif resulted in heavy condemnation and criticism against Kerry, particularly from figures in the Republican party. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikkey Haley was one of them, exclaiming on Twitter: "This is disgusting on many levels. Biden and Kerry have to answer for why Kerry would be tipping off Iran, the number one sponsor of terror, while stabbing one of our greatest partners, Israel, in the back."
John Kerry has denied the allegations, however, last night stating on Twitter: "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."
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
Amongst the other revelations heard in the leaked audio recording is Zarif's acknowledgment of divisions and rifts within Iran's political system. The elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the assassinated Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Zarif claimed, had the final say on matters relating to Tehran's foreign policy in the region, even reportedly having dictated diplomatic positions to the Foreign Ministry.