By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump blasted former Secretary of State John Kerry Monday following reports of back-channel meetings with Iran's top diplomat and several European officials.
Trump said the U.S. does not need "Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal" after the Boston Globe reported a previously undisclosed April meeting with Javad Zarif at the United Nations in New York.
Kerry "was the one that created this MESS in the first place!" continued Trump on Twitter.
Kerry was reportedly seeking to preserve the nuclear pact Iran struck with world powers, and which Kerry was critical in brokering alongside his then-counterpart Javad Zarif.
It was the second meeting between Kerry and Zarif in the past two months, the Globe reported citing an individual with knowledge of the meetings.
The nuclear agreement placed unprecedented restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions, but it has been cast into jeopardy by Trump who has until a May 12 deadline to decide whether he will continue to extend sanctions relief on Iran.
Should he decide against doing so, Trump would almost certainly torpedo the agreement and its nuclear-related restrictions.
All of the U.S.'s negotiating partners -- the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU -- agree that maintaining the accord is the best way to reign in Iran's program.
Top European officials have been counseling Trump against an exit while also suggesting an openness to some kind of "side deal" Trump is seeking on Iran's ballistic missile programs and its regional activities.
In addition to meeting Zarif, Kerry has been in high-level talks with European officials as the May 12 deadline approaches.
Last month, he met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier as well as French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Trump at the White House in late April, in Paris and Washington. Kerry also spoke by phone with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, according to the Globe.
But Kerry's efforts have not been limited to international leaders. He has also placed dozens of phone calls to members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, in the hopes of preserving the landmark accord, still according to the Globe.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Kerry told MSNBC: "Secretary Kerry stays in touch with his former counterparts around the world just like every previous Secretary of State.
Like America's closest allies, he believes it is important that the nuclear agreement, which took the world years to negotiate, remain effective as countries focus on stability in the region."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.