A group of Democratic senators held a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jahad Zarif in Munich last week, alleges a new exclusive in The Federalist on Monday.
“Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and other Democratic senators had a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jahad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference last week, according to a source briefed by the French delegation to the conference,” the report says.
However, none of the senators immediately confirmed the meeting, which would undermine the Trump administration’s policy stance on Iran, and brings up a host of potential legal issues.
Ironically this is the very thing Sen. Murphy has in the past accused Trump officials of doing during the 2016 transition period, specifically National Security Advisor Mike Flynn due to a phone call with Russian officials just before the administration entered the White House.
The legality of Congressmen meeting with FM Zarif is also questionable given last July the US Treasury brought sanctions against him. “Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world. The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said at the time.
And on the question of whether such a meeting had State Department knowledge or authorization, The Federalist notes: “A State Department official who spoke on background said that the State Department was not aware of any side meetings with Iranian officials that Murphy was engaged in.”
Sen. Murphy has long been a leading voice among a small group of dovish Senators on Iran, consistently urging for the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump pulled out of in May 2018 — and more recently pointing out that US policy of escalation against Iran actually weakens American defense readiness.
He said just days following the assassination of the IRGC’s Qassem Soleimani that “in almost every single way Iran is stronger than they were when President Trump came into office and we are weaker in the region.”