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Republicans call Kerry security leaks to Iran ‘disgusting,’ ‘criminal’

More Republicans are calling for the resignation of John Kerry, the Biden administration’s climate czar. In an explosive report published over the weekend, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif revealed Kerry had disclosed details of Israel’s attacks Syrian forces. In the story, which was also picked up by the New York Times, Zarif said Kerry told him that Israel was behind hundreds of attacks on Iranian assets in Syria.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and State Department spokesman Ned Price both refused to comment on the report when asked about it on Monday, saying that they do not comment on leaked materials. Kerry decided to respond to it after Price and Psaki both declined, claiming, “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,” even though there is audio of it.

The leaked tapes also embarrassed Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror, for disclosing how effective the Trump administration had been in dealing with it.

READ: Biden to lift sanctions on Iran

Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state and CIA director, said the report proved “what I’ve said for years: That [Zarif] continued to engage with former secretary of state Kerry on policy matters after Kerry’s public service and, according to Zarif, Kerry informed the Iranians of Israeli operations. Before we cut a deal with Iran that reduces Americans’ security, it would be good to know what the arrangement, if any, may have been between these two leaders.”

Foreign security experts say Kerry’s leaking of the info put American lives at risk during a time when U.S. forces were still on the ground in Syria.

Other notable responses to the report include:

  • Elise Stafanik, R-N.Y.: “This is a criminal act and John Kerry must be immediately investigated and prosecuted. President Biden must immediately remove John Kerry from any government or advisory position.”
  • Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley: “This is disgusting on many levels. Biden and Kerry have to answer for why Kerry would be tipping off Iran, the number one sponsor of terror, while stabbing one of our greatest partners, Israel, in the back.”

  • Donald Trump Jr.: “Imagine for a second a Trump official sitting on the NSC, like Kerry does, told Iran details about Israeli strikes. I believe the media would be screaming treason and they wouldn’t be too far off, but of course they’ll say and do nothing because they’re useless propagandists.”
  • Jim Banks, R-Ind.: “John Kerry must resign immediately. The investigation should be retrospective.”
  • Tom Cotton, R-Ark.: “These reports are concerning — I’d like the opportunity to ask Secretary Kerry about this in a closed hearing.”
  • Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.: “If intel leak rumors are true, John Kerry should seriously consider resignation.”
  • Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Rick Scott, R-Fla., both called for Kerry to resign.

Here’s some take-aways form the leaked audio:

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry divulged that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, to his astonishment, Mr. Zarif said.
  • Zarif said the Revolutionary Guards Corps call the shots, overruling many government decisions and ignoring advice.
  • [Zarif] also says that by assassinating [Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Guards’ elite Quds Force] in Iraq, the United States delivered a major blow to Iran, more damaging than if it had wiped out an entire city in an attack.

Tim Morrison, a national security expert who was on Trump’s National Security Council, said earlier this year that the Biden administration was giving up all leverage with the Iranian regime as it tried to restart the “dangerously flawed” nuclear deal.

“The Biden Administration is repeating the mistakes of the Obama Administration,” Morrison said. “It’s making concessions to get nothing more than a meeting. The Iran deal was dangerously flawed in 2015. In 2021, with key provisions expired, it’s simply national security malpractice to return to that deal. The Trump Administration bequeathed Biden tremendous leverage over Iran — it must not squander it.”

–Dwight Widaman and wire services