Mike Pompeo just put Dem Senator Chris Murphy on notice over potential Logan Act violations stemming from his secret meeting with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in Germany.
“This guy is designated by the United States,” Pompeo said, of Zarif’s addition to U.S. terrorism lists.
“He’s the foreign minister for a country that shot down an airliner and has yet to turn over the black boxes,” Pompeo added.
“This is the foreign minister of a country that killed an American on December 27. This is the foreign minister of a country that is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and the world’s largest sponsor of anti-Semitism.”
“If they met,” he added putting the Democratic senators on notice, “I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy, not their own.”
Chris Murphy released a statement admitting he met with the Iranian terrorist. He wrote:
As the sun sets in Munich, I have one more mission. For years, I have met on occasion with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, during both the Obama and Trump Administrations. I have no delusions about Iran — they are our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans and unacceptable levels of support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. But I think it’s dangerous to not talk to your enemies. Discussions and negotiations are a way to ease tensions and reduce the chances for crisis. But Trump, of course, has no such interests. For the last three years, there has been no diplomatic channel between America and Iran, and not coincidentally, tensions have escalated, most recently resulting in over 100 American soldiers being injured in an Iranian rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq.
I plan to meet Zarif Saturday night in his hotel suite, and I have several goals for the meeting. First, I want to gauge whether he thinks the reprisals for the Soleimani assassination are over, and I want to make sure it is 100 percent clear to him that if any groups in Iraq that are affiliated with Iran attack the United States’ forces in Iraq, this will be perceived as an unacceptable escalation. Zarif may not have control over Iran’s military decisions, but he is the country’s chief diplomat and I want him to know that our government is united on this point.
Second, I want his help in Yemen. I tell him that I know it is not a coincidence that the recent uptick in attacks from Iranian-aligned Houthis in Yemen started right after the Soleimani killing. I tell him that Iran shouldn’t let the Houthis waste an opportunity for peace. Of course, he predictably tells me that it’s the Saudis, not the Houthis, that are holding up progress on peace talks. But I do manage to get his attention on one subject. I bring up a recent terrible decision by the Houthis to implement a 2 percent “tax” on all humanitarian aid being distributed by the U.S. and other donors in Yemen. It has been temporarily but not permanently suspended, and caused the Trump Administration to rightly consider pulling our aid efforts. Zarif claims he is just learning of the issue this weekend, and he tells me that he is going to get to work on solving this problem when he returns home (while also coyly “reminding” me that he doesn’t control the Houthis).
Lastly, I raise the issue of American prisoners held in Iran. He is ready for this inquiry — he already knows how much I care about releasing innocent Americans from custody — and we spend a few minutes discussing how the situation could be resolved.
I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.
Sunday morning, exhausted, I climb onto a plane for the long ride back to the United States. My extended family always takes a vacation together during the kids’ February school break, and I am a day late in joining the rest of the Murphy clan. To do this job right, it takes immense amounts of time away from family. That’s the worst part of this job. But on trips like this, when you feel like, even as just a rank-and-file Senator, you made a difference for the security of the country, it makes the time away a little easier to endure.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) February 18, 2020