One News Now: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was rebuked by the State Department for meeting with Iran’s nuclear-deal negotiator without its permission – presumably with intentions of resurrecting former President Barack Obama’s failed nuke deal.
The nuke-deal-supporting Democrat claimed that she was granted permission to dine with the Iranian minister, but the Trump administration indicates otherwise.
“As the U.S. builds up a military presence around Iran, Sen. Dianne Feinstein had a private dinner with @JZarif, Iran’s foreign minister, when he was in the United States a few weeks ago,” Politico’s Jake Sherman tweeted Thursday.
Contradicting stories …
Last week, Politico Playbook revealed it found Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s contact information pulled up on Feinstein’s phone on an elevator after she walked around the Capitol, but her office claims that she had the go-ahead for the covert arrangement.
“[The dinner was] arranged in consultation with the State Department,” the liberal senator’s team told Politico. “The office was in touch with State in advance of the meeting to let them know it was happening and to get an update on U.S.-Iran activity.”
But that’s not what the Trump State Department says.
“A State Department official told us that they did not ask Feinstein to go to the dinner with Zarif – a smooth-talking, American-educated Iranian diplomat who worked on the nuclear deal with John Kerry,” Politico reported.
The sensitive timing of such a meeting is being called into question.
“[T]he United States and Iran are in the middle of a high-wire diplomatic and military staring contest,” Politico’s Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and Daniel Lippman noted. “The United States has moved additional military resources into the region, and has indicated it has intelligence that the Iranians were readying to attack American interests in the region, [so] it’s a bit unusual that Feinstein – the former chair and vice chair of the Intelligence Committee and a member of the Senate minority – is dining with the foreign minister of an adversary.” read more