Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Compromised: John Kerry has much to hide on his ties to Iran - Kenneth R. Timmerman

by Kenneth R. Timmerman 

Mr. Kerry has been accused of behaving as “Iran’s lawyer” in the nuclear negotiations, finding excuses for Iran’s bad behavior and justifications for a seemingly endless stream of U.S. capitulations to Iran.

But that behavior is not new

Secretary of State John Kerry is becoming increasingly frantic as he takes his case for the deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal around the country. 

His latest argument, that congressional disapproval of the deal will be the “ultimate screwing” of Iran’s clerical Supremo - and that we should care – verges on hysteria.

Whether it’s hysterically funny or a psychotic condition would be a tough call, if only the stakes weren’t so high for our security and the security of our friends and allies, starting with the Iranian people.

John Kerry has much to hide on his ties to Iran. As I revealed more than ten years ago, Mr. Kerry has long been sympathetic to the Islamist regime in Tehran. 

In June 2002 – just nine months after the 9/11 attacks on America – Mr. Kerry headlined a fund-raising gala for the American-Iranian Council, a pro-regime lobbying group seeking to roll back U.S. sanctions and promote U.S. investment in Iran.

The next day, AIC members returned the favor and hosted a fund-raiser for Senator Kerry’s re-election campaign at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco that netted more than $26,000. Many of those same fund-raisers became bundlers for Mr. Kerry’s failed 2004 presidential bid.

Among those opening their wallets was a stunning 34-year-old Iranian woman named Susan Akbarpour, aka Zahra A. Mashadi. “I am an actor in U.S. politics,” Ms. Akbarpour boasted to a reporter. “I am a fund-raiser for all candidates who listen to us and our concerns.”

The only problem was, her political contributions were illegal because she did not have a green card. The Kerry campaign never returned those contributions and the Federal Election Commission never investigated.

Mr. Kerry has been accused of behaving as “Iran’s lawyer” in the nuclear negotiations, finding excuses for Iran’s bad behavior and justifications for a seemingly endless stream of U.S. capitulations to Iran.

But that behavior is not new. In fact, during a debate with President George W. Bush during the 2004 campaign, Mr. Kerry pledged that had he been president since 2001, he would have “offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel” to Iran, to “test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.” 

Why would the United States appoint as lead negotiator a politician whose long-held views favoring our adversary in those negotiations were well-known?

Much has been made recently of Secretary Kerry’s family ties to Iran, a fact that was never raised during his confirmation hearings as Secretary of State.

Vanessa Kerry tartly dismissed rumors that have circulated in the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles since her 2009 wedding that the son of Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mehdi Zarif, was best-man for her husband, Behrouz Vala Nahed, an American-born neuro-surgeon. “Happy 2 verify. No wedding party when we married. No Zarif’s son. Sorry 2 disappoint,” she tweeted recently.

An Iranian website close to the father, Mohammad Javad Zarif, initially reported that Brian Nahed and Mahdi Zarif had “only” been college roommates, but later changed the on-line version of the article without noting the correction. 

Mahdi Zarif attended the City University of New York and lived in the United States for more than a decade while his father was the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to the United Nations (and repeatedly met with U.S. Senators in Washington, DC, including now vice-president Joe Biden). Dr. Nahed took his pre-med undergraduate degree several years earlier at UCLA.

But the presence or not of Zarif the son at Kerry the daughter’s wedding is a side show and detracts from an examination of Mr. Kerry’s fundamental conflict of interest in serving as chief U.S. negotiator with Iran. 

The facts are indisputable:
  • Mr. Kerry took illegal campaign cash from an Iranian national who, while claiming to be a political refugee, assaulted anti-regime protesters in Los Angeles, promoted U.S. computer and software investment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions, and boasted of influencing U.S. politicians with a pro-Tehran agenda. Taking that illicit cash tainted Mr. Kerry and identified him a “soft target” to agents of the Iranian regime.
  • Mr. Kerry carried through his side of the bargain, embracing the pro-Tehran agenda during his 2004 presidential campaign, while his Iranian backers kicked in substantial fresh cash to his campaign.
  • Mr. Kerry met Zarif at a private reception hosted by George Soros in New York in 2005, shortly after Soros’s Open Society Institute hosted Zarif at a policy luncheon for New York media elites.
  • Mr. Kerry sought to travel to Tehran to jumpstart diplomatic negotiations in December 2009, but was rebuffed by Tehran.
As I wrote earlier this year, a former aide to Iranian president Rouhani, who defected while covering the nuclear talks, revealed that Mr. Kerry and the U.S. delegation were seen by the Iranian negotiating team as secret allies who helped arm-twist reluctant partners such as France into making major concessions.

I know Iranian-Americans who volunteered for U.S. military service who were forced to leave the military when family members traveled to Iran. Why? Because counter-intelligence professionals who understood the Iranian government track record of exploiting family relationships for intelligence or political purposes indicated they could be compromised.

After all, the Soviets used family relationships all through the Cold War to compromise unwilling individuals to collaborate with their cause.

The game is as old as the intelligence business itself: find some string to manipulate or blackmail your adversary, then pull as hard as you can.

When it comes to Iran, John Kerry is about as compromised as they get.

 Kenneth R. Timmerman  


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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