Former Secretary of State John Kerry said he has not met with any Iranians since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite vocalizing his disagreement with the administration’s decision.
“I’m speaking out as a citizen in America,” Kerry said in an interview with CNN’s Michael Smerconish that aired Saturday morning. “If they don’t want me to speak out, that’s a different issue. But I’m telling you, I have not met with any Iranians since the President pulled out of the agreement, period.”
Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that Kerry’s behavior was “unseemly and unprecedented” after Kerry said he had met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a few times since leaving office.
“This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and according to him, he was talking to them, he was telling them to wait out this administration,’ Pompeo added.
During his tenure as secretary of state, Kerry was critical in constructing the Obama administration’s 2015 deal, which aimed to restrict Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Trump announced he would pull out of the deal earlier this year, and Kerry has since been vocal about his opposition to Trump’s Iran strategy.
In Kerry’s interview on “Smerconish,” he said he thinks pulling out of the deal “loses the best option of all,” which he goes on to explain would have been to stay in the deal in order to leverage other countries to work with the United States “to hold Iran accountable on the missiles, to do a better job in Yemen, to work on the issue of Hezbollah, which we don’t like them supporting, which is a terrorist organization.”
Kerry added that Trump’s move to pull out of the agreement did not serve the “best interests” of the United States.
“So we could have leveraged better outcomes, I think,” he said. “But by just pulling out and angering everybody, I don’t think it serves the best interests of our country and I’m free to speak my mind with respect to that.”
CNN’s Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.