Sen. Chris Murphy confirmed The Federalist’s reporting that he privately met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif without State Department knowledge or approval in Munich last week.
After Mollie Hemingway first reported the meeting Monday, Murphy did not respond to any media inquiries. Tuesday, he published an account of his trip on Medium, sharing details of his meetings and describing his “mission” to meet with officials of Iran, which he described as “our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans.”
Murphy also described his “goals” for meeting with Zarif, but admitted that he “cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.”
1/ Attached is my usual account of my latest trip abroad, this one to Ukraine and Munich.
I met w the Iranian Foriegn Minister in Munich. It’s dangerous not to talk to adversaries, esp amidst a cycle of escalation.
Quick thread on what I told Zarif.https://t.co/2oYjiXfZ7J
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 18, 2020
Murphy said he wanted to discuss Iran’s reprisals for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, aid in Yemen, and American prisoners held in Iran.
“A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes,” Murphy wrote, justify his possible undermining of U.S. foreign policy.
During a press conference with Ethiopian Minister Gedu Andargachew in the east African nation Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to The Federalist’s report of Murphy’s meeting.
“If they met, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy and not their own,” Pompeo said after noting that Zarif is the foreign minister of a country that is the world’s largest sponsor of both terror and antisemitism.
In 2017, Murphy demanded an investigation into then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn because he had a phone call with a counterpart in Russia. “Any effort to undermine our nation’s foreign policy – even during a transition period – may be illegal and must be taken seriously,” Murphy said.
Prior to Murphy’s admission, a State Department official told The Federalist on background that the State Department was not aware of any side meetings with Iranian officials that Murphy was engaged in.