In his recently published memoir, John Kerry mentions having met “three or four times” with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif after his own term as secretary of state had ended. The purpose of these meetings was to reassure Zarif that the Trump administration will not last forever, and that Tehran should hold onto the nuclear deal until a more favorable government comes to Washington and relaxes the renewed sanctions on Iran. Noah Rothman comments:
This is a former secretary of state who all but confirmed that he is actively conducting what the Boston Globe described in May as “shadow diplomacy” designed to preserve not just the Iran deal but all the associated economic relief and security guarantees it provided Tehran. The abrogation of that deal has put new pressure on the Iranians to liberalize domestically, withdraw their support for terrorism, and abandon their provocative weapons-development programs—pressures that the deal’s proponents once supported. . . .
The Iranian threat will not be neutralized until [Iran] abandons its support for terror and the repression of its people, and that will not end until the Iranian regime is no more.
While Kerry’s decision to hold a variety of meetings with a representative of a nation hostile to U.S. interests is surely careless and unhelpful, it is not uncommon. . . . In 2007, [for instance], as Bashar al-Assad’s government was providing material support for the insurgency in Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sojourned to Damascus to shower the genocidal dictator in good publicity. . . .
Honest observers must reluctantly conclude that the adage is wrong: American politics does not, in fact, stop at the water’s edge. It never has, and maybe it shouldn’t. . . . American political actors who contradict the president by conducting their own foreign policy should be judged on the policies they are advocating. In the case of Iran, those who seek to convince the mullahs and their representatives that repressive theocracy and a terroristic foreign policy are dead-ends are advancing the interests not just of the United States but all mankind. Those who provide this . . . autocracy with the hope that America’s resolve is fleeting are, as John Kerry might say, on “the wrong side of history.”