Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CALIF.) had dinner with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif when he was in the United States a few weeks ago, several sources told us. Last week, Playbook reported that Feinstein was walking around the Capitol with Zarif’s contact information pulled up on her iPhone -- we spotted it in an elevator.
Feinstein’s team tells us that 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 U.S.-Iran activity,” Feinstein’s office said. 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.
OF COURSE, the United States and Iran are in the middle of a high-wire diplomatic and military staring contest. 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.
It’s 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.