Iran says Zarif met with US senator for ‘public diplomacy’

Al-Monitor – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has confirmed that he met with US Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy to convey “facts about Iran” to the American people. The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last week, has already drawn the ire of US President Donald Trump, who suggested that the Connecticut senator may have acted against US law by engaging in official diplomacy as a private citizen. Also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said such a meeting was sitting down with “the foreign minister of a country who is the largest world sponsor of terror and the world’s largest sponsor of anti-Semitism.”

“It is not news,” Zarif told reporters after a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Feb. 19. According to the top diplomat, the reactions from Trump and Pompeo indicated how they are afraid of “facts about Iran being heard by an American senator.” The Iranian foreign minister also dismissed the US administration’s ban on him as a diplomat. “The Iranian foreign minister is not an individual, rather a representative of his nation, who have always found their way to get their voice out,” he said.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi reacted to US media reports about the “secret” meeting between Zarif and Murphy. “Such moves are part of [Zarif’s] public diplomacy, which includes meetings with the elites, attending academic centers and interviews with the press.”

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