Former President Donald Trump, who yanked the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, had previously attempted to establish backchannel communications with the regime in order to hammer out any issues without causing a scene.
Those efforts failed and according to an exclusive report from the Washington Times, new evidence reveals that at least part of the reason they failed is that former Obama officials had already established backchannel, shadow diplomacy channels with Iran with the hopes that those Obama-era officials would return to power in 2020, which is exactly what happened with Joe Biden’s election.
The very long and complex story short: Obama-era officials, like John Kerry and Robert Malley, were involved in what appear to be very secretive communications with Iran — specifically foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif — in an attempt to undermine Trump’s efforts to negotiate with the country as the outlet wrote, to “lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations.”
Sources within the U.S. intelligence community who requested anonymity, for obvious reasons, told the Washington Times that Zarif has an impressive level of influence over a group of prominent American liberals, mostly through various think tanks and similar organizations.
It’s a group of “tight-knit” insiders who are in favor of America not being anywhere near as tough on Iran as the Trump administration was, and it seems as if their efforts over the years are beginning to come to fruition, as recent reports indicate that President Joe Biden’s administration is actively working to hammer out a new agreement with concern to Iran’s nuclear program.
Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explained that while officials from a previous administration are usually valuable in opening critical, backdoor communications with other countries, the fact that it was done this time with an effort to undermine the Trump administration is troubling, to say the least.
“That’s especially true when multiple administrations have determined that this enemy is the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Dubowitz said, referring to Iran’s known money-funnel to the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah.
A senior official reportedly said that Zarif held a number of meetings with high-level Obama-era officials throughout 2017, 2018 and 2019. Those meetings apparently stopped in 2020 when the Trump administration pulled Zarif’s visa.
Some of the officials who were involved in the backroom talks with Zarif during the Trump years are now holding coveted positions in Biden’s administration. Only time will tell how America’s relation with Iran changes, but it’s clear that Iran’s gamble paid off last November when Biden won the presidency.