NEW YORK, Feb 23 (APP): US Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s policy on Iran “has been a total disaster,” after the President criticized Murphy for meeting with Iran’s top diplomat last week.
Murphy met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Munich last weekend, prompting the president to accuse the senator of violating the Logan Act, which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.
The senator defended his meeting with Zarif on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying he informed the State Department ahead of time that he was meeting with him.
He added that it’s a part of his job as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on the Middle East and counter terrorism.
“And the fact of the matter is it’s dangerous that this administration is not talking to the Iranians,” he said. “The Trump policy on Iran has been a total disaster. Iran is more powerful today than they were at the beginning of the Trump presidency.”
“I’m not negotiating with Iran, but it does make sense for somebody to be listening to them and to be engaged in some level of outreach as perhaps a means of trying to advert crisis and disaster down the road,” Murphy said.
The Trump administration stoked tensions with Tehran after its unilateral exit from the 2015 nuclear deal and reinstatement of sanctions as part of its policy of “maximum” pressure against the Islamic Republic.
Tensions further spiked between Iran and the US after Washington’s decision to strengthen its military build-up in the Middle East region.
Such deployments began in May when the US sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region along with Patriot missile batteries, among other reinforcements, citing alleged Iranian threats.
Shortly before the announcement for deployment of additional troops in the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon released a blurry video that it claimed showed Iranian boats removing a mine from one of two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman on June 13.
The US has blamed Iran for the attacks, which hit one Japanese-owned and one Norwegian-owned tanker. The tankers were carrying Japanese-related crude near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Tehran has vigorously denied the allegation, calling the attacks “suspicious.”