Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) admitted meeting one of Irans top officials a day after reports indicated he met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference in Germany last week.
Murphy defended his meeting with Zarif on Tuesday, arguing in a statement: “Its dangerous not to talk to adversaries, especially amidst a cycle of escalation.”
Murphy said hes been meeting on occasion with Zarif for years, during both the present administration and the past one.
“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,” he wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Murphy said he told Zarif that any attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq would be unacceptable, even if they came from groups in Iraq affiliated with Iran and not Iran itself. He also asked for Irans help in Yemen and inquired about American prisoners held in Iran.
Murphy said he doesnt know whether his meeting will make a difference. “Im just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I dont pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isnt going to talk to Iran, then someone should,” he said.
Murphys meeting with an American foe drew criticism before it was confirmed by the senator.
“Unless it was authorized by the president or secretary of state, conducting independent foreign policy sends mixed signals to our adversaries,” Christian Whiton, a former State Department adviser in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, told The Federalist, which first reported the meeting. “It seems very unpalatable. If we want to talk to Iranians, they know how to reach us and they dont need to go through an intermediary.”
Asked about the possible meeting on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he didnt know what the meeting was about. “If they met, I dont know what they saidRead More – Source