The debate over US President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is undoubtedly the hottest issue today, with truly apocalyptic repercussions. One of the main overlooked details of the deal has to do with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s personal connection to Iran. Being the main negotiator, his personal judgement and integrity is an essential element, and there are reasons to question his judgement.
Every minute aspect of the agreement is of vital importance and, unfortunately, many details have been hidden, even from the senators and congressmen who are expected to vote on the results of the negotiations. A hushed up fact concerning Kerry’s personal life, involves his younger daughter from his deceased first wife, Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry. Kerry’s daughter married Dr. Brian (Behrooz) Vala Nahid, an Iranian-American physician and the son of Nooshin and Reza Vala Nahid of Los Angeles, in October 2009.
The marriage was even announced in the New York Times but oddly enough, no mention was made of the groom’s Iranian connection, an irregular occurrence for the paper. It should be noted that after the wedding, the couple went to Iran to visit those relatives.
This past March, in the midst of tumultuous negotiations with Iran, the secretary made mention of his close Iranian connection when he greeted the Iranian people on the occasion of the traditional New Year (Nowruz) holiday.
“I am proud of the Iranian-Americans in my own family, and grateful for how they have enriched my life,” Kerry said in the official statement. Kerry also said he was “strongly committed to resolving” the differences between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, “to the mutual benefit of both of our people.”
Kerry’s family connection to Iran is no secret, and in the melting pot that is the United States, it is not entirely surprising. What is significant is that as part of the wedding preparations, Kerry went to a dinner party hosted by George Soros at his Manhattan penthouse. He undoubtedly met the best man Mahdi Zarif, and also met his father, Mohammad Javad Zarif,current Iranian Foreign Minister, who acted as the chief negotiator during nuclear talks, across the table from Kerry. This revelation was made by former Congressman Allen West on his website on July 28.
On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry “strongly rejected” the claim, calling it a “sheer lie and ‘news fabrication,” as reported by Fars News Agency . “Some media outlets that lack credit [sic] fabricate such news in pursuit of special objectives, including finding more viewer [sic],” the foreign ministry claimed.
Though no formal accusations have been made, neither have any inquiries or investigations been conducted. The accusation and the refutation stand on their own merits. Kerry’s close family connection was not mentioned in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The FBI vets US government officials involved in national security issues and generally will not grant clearances to individuals who are married to nationals of an enemy nation or having family members living in that country, for fear of divided loyalties.The lack of basic oversight and disclosure in this case is disturbing.
While some may find Kerry’s close Iranian ties surprising and hushed up, the secretary has a track record of divided loyalties. It was revealed in a declaration of assets published on opensecrets.org that that the secretary held shares in Noble Energy that totaled an estimated $500,000 to $1 million. Noble Energy is one of the major gas exploration companies involved in the two major Israeli offshore natural gas fields.
Kerry’s financial involvement raises serious concerns regarding his ties to the Israeli gas market as an American official. Approximately eight months ago, Israel’s antitrust commissioner called on the government to back out of the compromised deal with the energy firm, stating that the contractual agreement violated antitrust laws. This endangered the deal, and the gas companies, led by Noble, claimed the new arrangement would damage their expected profits.
Given Kerry’s personal financial interest, it might have been better for him to recuse himself and delegate the task to another State Department official. Such a move would undoubtedly have been proper, also in the case of the Iran negotiations.
Haaretz reported that Kerry contacted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging the Israeli leader to advance the deal with Noble and sidestep the antitrust difficulties. According to the report, Kerry said, “It is important for all countries to have a strong investment climate, including a consistent and predictable regulatory framework.” Netanyahu has pushed the legislation through, labelling the natural gas issue a security issue, thereby sidestepping antitrust laws.
In yet another incident, it is somewhat ironic that Kerry led a committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, in which selling weapons to Iran was illegal because it was designated a state sponsor of terrorism and was the focus of an arms embargo by the US government. Yet today, Kerry is willing to allow Iran’s nuclear program to remain intact, lift sanctions and provide the Iranian terror regime with billions of dollars, despite their public declarations of threats of violence, terror and destruction against the US and Israel. It appears that Kerry, regardless of his previous views on Iran as a terror state, has no qualms conducting negotiations based entirely on good faith, as his response to the Senate Committee clearly showed.
Kerry’s intimate Iranian connections and his interests in foreign matters are a matter of public record. Taken separately, each incident may be considered harmless. Viewed together as a pattern, it seems that Kerry has a history of operating in areas where he has a conflict of interest, putting aside his beliefs. This should raise questions about his judgement. To date, there have been no American or Israeli calls to investigate Kerry’s multiple conflict of interests, though investigations and inquiries have certainly been initiated on much less grounds.