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Obama Officials Reportedly Negotiated With Iran During Trump Term to Spoil Latter's Diplomacy
The administration of former US President Donald Trump depicted a hard-line approach toward Iran, elevating tensions with the Islamic republic to unprecedented levels. In 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), quickly introducing a severe sanction regime on Iran’s banking and oil sales.
Former Obama officials held face-to-face meetings with the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in the middle of worsening US-Iranian relations under the Trump administration to “undermine” the latter's team, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed former senior US official.
According to the newspaper, the alternative diplomatic channel also served to lay the foundation for a future US administration that made clear its intention to rehabilitate relations with Iran and revive the JCPOA nuclear agreement.
President Obama’s Middle East adviser, Robert Malley, along with former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz reportedly met with Zarif in 2017, 2018 and 2019. All of the US representatives were key US negotiators of the JCPOA.
The report suggested that these ties with “influential liberals” allowed Iran to expect an improvement in US-Iranian relations, bypassing Trump officials and hoping that Democrats would soon return in the White House.
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