Former secretary of state and current Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry denied allegations on Monday that he had released information on Israeli airstrikes in Syria to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, after Zarif claimed in a leaked interview that he had found out about the strikes from Kerry.In a leaked interview released by Iran International and The New York Times this week, Zarif claimed he was kept in the dark on Israeli airstrikes in Syria, saying: “It was former US foreign secretary John Kerry who told me Israel had launched more than 200 attacks on Iranian forces in Syria.”
The UK-based Persian-language television station cast doubt on the likelihood that this claim was true, as Israeli airstrikes in Syria had previously been reported in international media.
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. https://t.co/BTOdFE1khW— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 26, 2021
“I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false,” Kerry tweeted. “This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since.”
In response to a question on the leaked interview during a press briefing on Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the department does not comment on “purportedly leaked material” and that the alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria were “certainly... not secret, and governments that were involved were speaking to this publicly on the record.”
“Of course, we can’t vouch for the authenticity of it, for the accuracy of it, and so of course I’m not going to comment directly on what’s on that tape, on that recording,” he said.
The report comes as Iran conducts talks with the US and European nations in Vienna in an attempt to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the 2015 nuclear deal.
A number of Republicans expressed outrage at the allegations against Kerry, blasting the former secretary of state for allegedly leaking sensitive information.
“People are talking about treason – and I don’t throw that word around a lot,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Politico reported. “John Kerry does all kinds of things that I can’t stand. But this is the one that broke the camel’s back.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) said it was “unfathomable” that a US diplomat would leak intelligence to the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.”
While the IDF usually does not confirm individual airstrikes in Syria, it periodically releases statistics on the strikes. In December, the IDF announced that it had carried out 50 strikes against its northeastern neighbor in 2020.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.