John Kerry likely to face questions on Iran dealings at House Foreign Affairs climate hearing
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, calls for an investigation into leaked audio of John Kerry allegedly sharing Israeli military secrets with an Iranian official
GOP lawmakers are expected to press Biden administration climate envoy John Kerry on his dealings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Wednesday.
Kerry will testify at the hearing, dubbed "Driving a Global, Whole-of-Society Response to Climate Action." The hearing will utilize a hybrid format, raising the possibility that Kerry will appear in person.
The hearing will focus on steps to combat climate change as the Biden administration moves forward with its goal of cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half by 2030. But the event will mark Kerry’s first public appearance since reports surfaced of an audio file in which Zarif purportedly claimed that Kerry had leaked sensitive information while serving as secretary of state under the Obama administration.
Republicans are planning during the hearing to ask Kerry about his conversations with Zarif, Fox News' Rich Edson reported.
In leaked audio first published by London-based Iran International and later obtained by the New York Times, Zarif said Kerry had informed him that Israel attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times. The claim prompted an outcry among Republicans.
A group of 19 GOP senators demanded the Biden administration suspend Kerry’s access to sensitive information and conduct an investigation to determine if the claim was authentic.
"Secretary Kerry has a long history of employing transactional diplomacy against the best interests of the United States or our allies – often trading long-term national security for a flawed short-term political agenda – which has ultimately endangered our allies and emboldened our adversaries," the senators said.
Some Republicans have questioned the tape’s veracity.
"I don’t know if we should trust that tape or not. If it’s true, it’s very damaging," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Politico. "But let’s wait and see how authentic this is."
The allegations against Kerry surfaced as Biden administration officials mull the next phase of U.S. diplomatic relations with the Iranian regime, including a potential return to the nuclear deal abandoned during former President Donald Trump’s term. Kerry played a major role in negotiating the original deal.
Kerry denied any wrongdoing in response to the tape.
"I can tell you that this story and these allegations are unequivocally false," Kerry wrote on Twitter. "This never happened – either when I was Secretary of State or since."