Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) defended his decision to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while they were attending Munich Security Conference in Germany.
The Federalist reported on Monday Murphy and other Democratic senators met with Zarif. Their source had been briefed by the French delegation to the security conference about the meeting.
Murphy tweeted about the meeting on Tuesday, stating, "Congress is a co-equal branch to the executive. We set foreign policy too."
2/ First, I urged him to control any Iranian proxies in Iraq who might attack U.S. forces and allies there.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 18, 2020
Second, I pressed him to release American citizens being unlawfully detained in Iran.
Third, I pushed him to end the Houthi blockage of humanitarian aid in Yemen.
4/ I wish President Trump would see that value too. Because our current policy of blind, non-strategic escalation is just making Iran more powerful and menacing, and making America weaker and less secure.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 18, 2020
Zarif condemned President Trump ordering a military strike on terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani in December.
The US' act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 3, 2020
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.
Murphy elaborated his reasons for meeting with Zarif in his Medium post about the trip.
"As the sun sets in Munich, I have one more mission. For years, I have met on occasion with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, during both the Obama and Trump Administrations. 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. 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. But Trump, of course, has no such interests. For the last three years, there has been no diplomatic channel between America and Iran, and not coincidentally, tensions have escalated, most recently resulting in over 100 American soldiers being injured in an Iranian rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq."
Murphy said he wanted to make sure there would be no more attacks on Americans or its allies in the aftermath of Soleimani's killing, deescalate the war in Yemen, and try to negotiate the release of Americans being held prisoner in Iran:
"I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. 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. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy."
"A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes," Murphy concluded about the meeting.