John Kerry is quietly working to preserve his signature foreign policy achievement, the Iran nuclear deal, through a series of meetings with contacts he developed as secretary of state, the Boston Globe reports.
Kerry reportedly met for the second time with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif at the United Nations building in New York two weeks ago to review diplomatic strategies designed to derail President Trump’s plan to exit the Obama-era non-proliferation agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The deal — signed by six countries in 2015 after months of negotiation led by Kerry — committed Iran to halt the development of their nuclear weapons program for a decade in exchange for a reduction in economic sanctions.
Intent on preserving the deal he negotiated, Kerry has reportedly met with a number of other world leaders, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom continue to vocally support the deal.
Kerry’s active involvement in attempting to preserve the deal comes as a surprise to foreign policy experts.
“It is unusual for a former secretary of state to engage in foreign policy like this, as an actual diplomat and quasi-negotiator,” Michael O’Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, told the Boston Globe. “Of course, former secretaries of state often remain quite engaged with foreign leaders, as they should, but it’s rarely so issue-specific, especially when they have just left office.”
Macron, who tried to convince to remain in the deal during his state visit last month, said this week that leaving the deal, as Trump has repeatedly vowed to do, could potentially lead to war.
“That would mean opening Pandora’s box, it could mean war,” Macron told the German magazine Der Spiegel. “I don’t believe that Donald Trump wants war.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to bolster the case made by Iran deal skeptics this week, unveiling a trove of Iranian government nuclear documents recovered by Israeli intelligence services, which he claims prove the regime “lied” about past efforts to seek nuclear weapons and future plans to continue their development.