A news that sent the US administration led by President Donald Trump in a state of shock -- former US secretary of state John Kerry is engaging in a shadow diplomacy to preserve the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, considered one of his major diplomatic feats, the Boston Globe reported on Friday, May 4.
The report said Kerry, 74, has been meeting some of Iran's influential voices in the nuclear agreement which the US and five other powers and the European Union had made with Iran in 2015 to contain its nuclear ambitions. Trump has threatened to quit from the deal and restart the sanctions on Iran for he believes the deal is flawed and it has earned a major reaction from Iran which has counter-threatened to retaliate if the US indeed pulled out.
May 12 is the deadline when Trump would decide whether to reinforce the sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy over the years before the 2015 deal.
The Boston Globe cited a person briefing on the meetings and said Kerry, who served as the secretary of state between 2013 and 2017, met Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the United Nations in New York a couple of weeks ago to discuss ways to keep the deal intact. It was their second meeting in around two months.
The Boston Globe also cited a source to say Kerry having met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in April and also speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and New York besides calling up European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
He also spoke with members of the US Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, several times. The Globe reported that when it tried to get a reaction from the White House on the matter, it did not respond.
Trump lashed out at Kerry during his speech to the National Rifle Association in Dallas on Friday, May 4, saying his act of negotiating with Iran was "horrible".
"And we have the former administration as represented by John Kerry, not the best negotiator we've ever seen," the president said, adding: "He never walked away from the table, except to be in that bicycle race where he fell and broke his leg."
"Jail him", says Washington Times op-ed
Kerry's action also enraged the US media as one op-ed published in the Washington Times on Sunday, May 6, even called for his imprisonment. It said Kerry went "underground to conspire with the enemy to undermine U.S. foreign policy."