By Pooya Stone
Donald Trump tweeted on Monday morning that former Secretary of State John Kerry could have violated the Logan Act over his talks with Iran.
The tweet was sent after current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US was ending waivers for sanctions on Iranian oil in order to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran.
Trump tweeted: “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil. Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by [Kerry] and people who helped him lead the US into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?”
Kerry, who helped to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2015, has sought to protect the deal’s legacy since leaving office.
However, the Trump administration withdrew from the deal last year, citing that it didn’t address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional meddling, with Trump calling it a “horrible deal that should never, ever have been made”.
The Trump administration then released a list of 12 demands for Iran, including halting its terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, in order for the mullahs to get the chance at a new nuclear deal.
In 2018, Kerry said that this reduced the US’s “global leverage to address Tehran’s misbehaviour” and reportedly held discussion with Iranian officials and other world leaders in order to salvage the nuclear deal before Trump withdrew from it.
Kerry reportedly met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and top European Union official Federica Mogherini, as well as several members of Congress.
This action led some to speculate that Kerry was in violation of the 1799 Logan Act, which bans US citizens from “private correspondence with foreign governments” and from having direct or indirect “correspondence” with a foreign government in relation to any dispute with the US. Only two people have ever been charged with that crime.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the Department of State on April 15, for records of communications between Kerry and State Department officials and meetings between Kerry and Iranian officials about the Iran deal.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said: “John Kerry wasn’t elected president, so he should avoid colluding with Iran and other foreign government to undermine US foreign policy.”
The sanctions will affect China, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy, and Greece.