Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi says the meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Senator Dianne Feinstein which took place during Zarif's recent visit to the United States was not tantamount to negotiation.
Mousavi explained that Iranian officials and U.S. Congress members have been holding talks and exchanging views all along the past two decades.
These meetings are aimed at "explaining the Islamic Republic of Iran's policies to non-government U.S. elites including members of Congress," Mousavi said, adding that "These individuals are not U.S. government officials. They are not authorized to negotiate and Iranian officials have not and will not negotiate with them."
Earlier, a spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the UN in New York had confirmed that Zarif, had met with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). "The meeting took place as one of our routine meetings with members of Congress," Alireza Mir Yousefi told the government official news agency IRNA. However, he did not elaborate on the term "routine meetings", and did not provide any other details.
According to Mousavi, the meeting with Feinstein, like other similar meetings, was meant to prevent the influence of pressure groups on the political community and public opinion in the United States.
After news of the meeting was leaked to the Press last week, Senator Feinstein's office announced that it was a working dinner and the State Department knew about it.
Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the meeting with Zarif in an interview with Fox News, adding that such measures fall at the borderline of the Logan Act which bars unauthorized persons from negotiating with foreign governments.