0440 GMT June 19, 2019
Asked on Saturday about the meeting between Zarif and Feinstein, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said, “Dialogue and exchange of views with America’s non-administrative political elites, including members of Congress (who are not administrative officials), have been taking place for more than two decades with the aim of enlightenment and declaration of the Islamic Republic’s policies,” Tasnim News Agency reported.
“These individuals are neither administrative officials nor entitled to negotiate (with Iran), and Iranian officials have not negotiated and will not negotiate with them either,” the spokesperson added.
“The purpose of such meetings – which, by the way, take a lot of time and energy from the foreign minister in his tightly scheduled visits – is to counteract the influence of lobbies such as the ‘B-team’ over the US political society and public opinion. That’s why they (the meetings) face a harsh reaction and resentment from the hardliners,” Mousavi said.
The B-team, a phrase first used by Zarif, refers to a group of four anti-Iran hawks, namely US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
On Thursday, the Politico reported that Feinstein, who sits on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, met with Zarif a few weeks ago when he was in New York.
The California Democrat said the dinner was “arranged in consultation with the State Department.”
“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 US-Iran activity,” Feinstein’s office said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted the senator and former secretary of state John Kerry for engaging Iran.