Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif apparently did not know that Israel was behind hundreds of attacks on Iranian assets inside Syria prior to Secretary of State John Kerry allegedly disclosing that information to him, a Thursday night report revealed.
Adam Kredo, a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon who obtained the audio file of the leaked phone call and had it independently translated, revealed that Zarif claims he was previously unaware that Israel was behind the strikes:
Leaked audiotape of Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif indicates he had no knowledge of covert Israeli military strikes before former secretary of state John Kerry provided him with the information, new details that contradict the State Department’s recent defense of Kerry.
These details are likely to further fuel calls from leading Republicans for Kerry’s firing or resignation. The New York Times reported that Zarif said on the tape that Kerry told him Israel launched 200 airstrikes against Iranian interests in Syria. The Times did not provide further details on that issue. But an independent translation of the audiotape commissioned by the Washington Free Beacon shows that Zarif went on to clarify that he had no prior knowledge of these Israeli strikes before Kerry told him.
“Kerry told me that Israel had launched 200 airstrikes against you [Iran],” said Zarif. “You didn’t know?” asked his interviewer. “No, no,” he replied.
The revelation could pose serious trouble for Kerry, who is currently serving as the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate for Democrat President Joe Biden. Kerry earlier denied ever disclosing to Zarif that Israel was behind the attacks on Iranian convoys in Syria.
“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false,” Kerry claimed. “This never happened — either when I was Secretary of State or since.”
The New York Times published a report earlier this week on the leaked audio, but included the mention of Kerry’s revelations close to the end, effectively burying the lede. The article did not provide a verbatim quote, instead paraphrasing:
Former Secretary of State John Kerry informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, to his astonishment, Mr. Zarif said.
The translated quote makes the meaning explicitly clear, and also undermines the State Department’s claims that it was “not a secret at the time.”
“This is purportedly leaked material. Can’t speak to the authenticity. Can’t speak to the accuracy of it. Can’t speak to any motives that may be behind its dissemination,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday. “If you go back and look at press reporting from the time, this certainly was not secret, and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly on the record.”
Following the release of the audio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the first to speak out against Kerry’s actions and has immediately called for his resignation from the Biden administration, and a firing if none is offered.