President Trump slammed a recent meeting between Sen. Chris Murphy and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and claimed the Connecticut Democrat violated federal law.
Mr. Trump on Wednesday alleged the meeting violated the Logan Act, which prohibits American citizens from conducting negotiations with a foreign government.
“This is why Iran is not making a deal. Must be dealt with strongly!” the president tweeted.
Mr. Murphy confirmed the meeting, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last weekend, in a post on Medium Tuesday. He said his goal was to discuss Iranian forces in Iraq in the wake of the fatal U.S. strike on former Quds force leader Qassem Soleimani, American citizens being held prisoner in Iran, and the ongoing war in Yemen.
“I have no delusions about Iran — they are our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans and unacceptable levels of support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East,” the senator wrote.
“But I think it’s dangerous to not talk to your enemies. Discussions and negotiations are a way to ease tensions and reduce the chances for crisis.”
In the post, Mr. Murphy insisted that he does not conduct diplomacy on behalf of the U.S., but stressed that Congress is a co-equal branch of government “responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy.”
“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,” Mr. Murphy wrote.
He said that a lack of dialogue “leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.”
Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting in Tehran, Mr. Zarif said, “Trump and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are afraid of a senator hearing facts from the Iranian foreign minister,” The Associated Press reported.
He explained that this was not the first time he’s met with the senator and said the meeting was held with the hope of speaking to “the American nation.”