on the attack

Sen. Chris Murphy under fire for meeting with Iranian foreign minister

Photo: Paul Morigi

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

President Donald Trump slammed a group of Democratic senators, led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who reportedly met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference over the weekend. “That sounds to me [like] a violation of the Logan Act,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday. 

In the dark: During a trip to Africa, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo questioned why the Democratic lawmakers would meet with an individual sanctioned by the U.S. government, noting Zarif’s position as“foreign minister of a country who is the largest world sponsor of terror and the world’s largest sponsor of antisemitism.” Pompeo added, “If they met, I don’t know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy and not their own.” 

Pushback: Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended his meeting with Zarif in a lengthy post, which included details of his meeting on Friday with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference,” Murphy wrote. “I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.” 

Testing the waters: Murphy, who has met with Zarif in the past, explained that his efforts to engage with the Iranian diplomat were ”to gauge whether he thinks the reprisals for the [Qassim] Soleimani assassination are over, and I want to make sure it is 100 percent clear to him that if any groups in Iraq that are affiliated with Iran attack the United States’ forces in Iraq, this will be perceived as an unacceptable escalation.”

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