John Kerry, a former secretary of state, stated on Monday that he had by no means discussed covert Israeli airstrikes in Syria with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, opposite to Mr. Zarif’s declare in a leaked conversation.

Mr. Zarif and Mr. Kerry spoke continually when the 2 have been negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian foreign minister stated in the recording, reported by The New York Times on Sunday, that Mr. Kerry had knowledgeable him that Israel had attacked Iranian pursuits in Syria a minimum of 200 occasions.

The declare sparked a furor on Monday amongst conservatives who accused Mr. Kerry, who was secretary of state in the Obama administration and now serves as President Biden’s local weather envoy, of betraying Israeli secrets and techniques.

But in a tweet on Monday evening, Mr. Kerry denied the assertion and pointed to stories lengthy in the general public area about Israeli strikes on Iranian belongings in Syria.

“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false. This never happened — either when I was Secretary of State or since,” Mr. Kerry wrote.

Mr. Kerry’s denial got here after a number of assaults from distinguished Republicans. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, stated that, if actual, the remarks would quantity to “catastrophic and disqualifying recklessness.”

Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska and a former State Department official beneath President George W. Bush, referred to as in a speech on the Senate ground for Mr. Kerry to resign, saying he was “astonished” that Mr. Kerry “would reveal the secrets of one of our most important and enduring allies in the region to an avowed enemy, the largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

And Nikki Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration, wrote on Twitter that the declare was “disgusting” and accused Mr. Kerry of “tipping off Iran.”

But it was not clear that the alleged disclosure would have revealed any secrets and techniques.

Israel has made little effort to disclaim years of strikes attributed to it by Syria’s authorities, information shops and nongovernmental organizations monitoring the Syrian battle, whose chaos Iran has sought to make use of to determine a foothold that might threaten Israeli safety.

A New York Times article from 2019 included related info on the variety of Israeli strikes. And Mr. Kerry’s tweet cited a Washington Post reporter’s tweet of a 2018 Reuters article, sourced to a senior Israeli official, reporting that Israel had mounted 200 assaults on Iranian belongings in Syria.

The recording in query captures Mr. Zarif talking for hours to an interviewer producing an oral historical past of the present Iranian administration.

“Kerry has to tell me that Israel has attacked you 200 times in Syria?” says Mr. Zarif, who complains in the recording that Iran’s navy has lengthy saved him in the darkish on essential issues. “You did not know?” the interviewer asks twice. Both occasions, Mr. Zarif replies, “No, no.”

In the recording, Mr. Zarif doesn’t specify when Mr. Kerry was imagined to have made the remark.

A State Department official famous on Monday that Mr. Kerry had a file of supporting Israel’s safety and that most of the Republicans outraged by Mr. Zarif’s remarks had stated beforehand that his phrases couldn’t be trusted.

Earlier in the day, the State Department spokesman, Ned Price, advised reporters at a every day briefing that he wouldn’t touch upon “purportedly leaked material” and couldn’t “vouch for the authenticity of it or the accuracy of it,” or what motives is perhaps behind its emergence.

Mr. Price didn’t particularly deal with whether or not Mr. Kerry had made such feedback to Mr. Zarif, however implied that they might not have constituted an improper disclosure.

“I would just make the broad point that if you go back and look at press reporting from the time, this certainly was not secret,” Mr. Price stated. “And governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly, on the record.”





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