(ConservativePeak.com) – Democratic Senator Chris Murphy drew the ire of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he admitted this week that he met with a top Iranian official recently.
Reports surfaced Tuesday that Murphy and some other Democratic senators met with Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, at a security conference recently. That meeting came after Murphy gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference that criticized President Donald Trump’s Middle East policy.
When asked about the meeting, Murphy dodged questions, but then did address the situation in an online post the next day. In that post, he wrote:
“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.”
Pompeo was a speaker at that Munich Security Conference as well, and he was none too happy that Murphy and other Democrats met with Zarif in what was not an officially-sanctioned get-together. Apparently, Murphy held the meeting in secret in an effort to avoid scrutiny from the media. Officials from the State Department quickly clarified that they had no role in setting up or backing the meeting.
Pompeo had strong words for Murphy this week. While taking a tour throughout Africa, Pompeo told reporters that those who were at the meeting are “aiding and abetting” a person who was recently added to the official United States terrorism list.
He continued: This guy [Zarif] is designated by the United States. He’s the foreign minister for a country that shot down an airliner and has yet to turn over the black boxes. 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, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy, not their own.”
Murphy hasn’t responded directly to questions regarding Pompeo’s comments, but he did say that the meeting with Zarif was held to discuss U.S. prisoners that are being held in Iran, as well as “belligerent actions” from the Houthis is Yemen. Finally, Murphy said they discussed how Iran has responded to Murphy’s characterization of the “Soleimani assassination.”
Murphy further defended his actions, saying: “If Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal brand of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy.”
It’s ironic that now that Trump is in the White House, and not Democrat Barack Obama, that Murphy has taken this stance. During the Obama administration, he sent a letter criticizing Republican senators who sent a message to the Iranian regime, saying it was “undermining the authority of the president.” He also asked those senators to respect “the difference between what the executive branch and what the legislative branch is supposed to be doing surrounding delicate negotiations.”
Seems he’s sounding a different horn now that his party isn’t in the White House.