John Kerry’s Daughter Married an Iranian with Connections to Nuclear Negotiators- Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter married an Iranian man with connections to an Iranian foreign minister who participated in nuclear negotiations.
Parts of this rumor are true, but they have been twisted into a false narrative.
Tidbits from various reports have been used to make a number of claims about John Kerry’s ties to Iranian nuclear negotiators. These reports argue that Kerry should have recused himself from nuclear talks with Iran because of conflicts of interest.
Let’s take a look at claims that have frequently appeared:
John Kerry’s Daughter Married an Iranian-Mostly Fiction!
John Kerry’s daughter married a man of Iranian descent, but he was born and raised in America.
Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry married Dr. Brian Vala Nahed in 2009. The couple met as resident doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Vanessa was practicing internal medicine there, and Nahed was practicing neurological surgery, according to a New York Times wedding announcement:
The bridegroom graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received his medical degree cum laude from Yale. His father, a pulmonologist and sleep medicine and critical-care physician, is the chief of staff at Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, Calif. He also runs a private practice there, which is managed by the bridegroom’s mother.
Nahed was born in New York, according to his Mass General bio.
John Kerry Concealed His Son-in-Law’s Iranian Bloodlines-Mostly Fiction!
This one is mostly fiction.
John Kerry acknowledged his family’s connection to Iran in a statement that was released on the Iranian New Year in March 2013:
It’s a privilege to join President Obama in sending warm wishes for health and prosperity to the people of Iran and all those who celebrate Nowruz around the world.
As you gather with your loved ones around the Sofreh Haft-Seen, we are proud to note that many Americans will join you in celebrating Nowruz. This year, we are once again reminded of the outstanding contributions of Iranian-Americans and Iranian students here in the United States, which reflect the rich history of your culture. I am proud of the Iranian-Americans in my own family, and grateful for how they have enriched my life.
Kerry made the admission after a website operated by the Iranian government reported that his son-in-law was an Iranian-American and had still relatives in Iran. The report was published as Kerry faced a Senate confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, so it wasn't a "secret."
Kenneth Timmerman, president of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, described the timing of Kerry’s statement in a column that appeared in the Daily Caller:
Was the Iranian publication itself a subtle form of blackmail, aimed at letting Kerry know that the regime is fully aware of his son-in-law’s extended family in Iran? The Islamic Republic systematically puts pressure on family members of prominent Iranian-Americans (for example, individuals who work at the Persian service of Voice of America), to make sure that they do not engage in hostile statements or activities against the Tehran regime.
Certainly, Secretary Kerry has long favored a U.S. rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. He has repeatedly appeared with groups such as the American Iranian Council (AIC), and has taken money from Iranian-Americans for his political campaigns, including at least one illegal donation from an Iranian woman who did not have a green card. So he didn’t need to have an Iranian-American family member to believe that the United States should forge direct relations with the Islamic Republic or ease U.S. pressure on the regime.
Kerry may have figured that by revealing the family tie himself he could diffuse the situation, and make it more difficult for the regime to put pressure on his son-in-law’s family. Of course, that’s assuming Kerry in fact plans to do anything that angers the regime.
Besides, the New York Times ran a wedding announcement in 2009 that quoted Kerry, so it wouldn't have been a very well guarded secret.
The Son of an Iranian Foreign Minister Was the Best Man in John Kerry’s Daughter’s Wedding-Reported as Fiction!
There’s no proof that this one is true.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was one of the principal negotiators in nuclear talks with the U.S. The rumor that Zarif’s son was the best man in Kerry’s daughter’s wedding started with a post on Allen B. West’s website in July 2015:
Secretary Kerry and Zarif first met over a decade ago at a dinner party hosted by George Soros at his Manhattan penthouse. What a surprise. I have to say, connecting the dots gets more and more frightening.
But it gets even worse. Guess who was the best man at the 2009 wedding between Kerry’s daughter Vanessa and Behrouz Vala Nahed? Javad Zarif’s son.
The story doesn't cite a source, but Vanessa Kerry Nahed quickly shot the rumor down. She tweeted that her husband didn't have a best man because they didn't have a bridal party at their wedding.
An Iranian news agency called the report a “news fabrication” and said Zarif's son wasn't at the wedding. According to the report:
Officials at the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday strongly rejected some US media reports alleging that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's son had attended the wedding ceremony of Vanessa Kerry, the daughter of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The foreign ministry's denial came after several American websites claimed in the last few days that Zarif's son, Mehdi Zarif, had not only attended the wedding party of Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry and her Iranian American husband doctor Brian Vala Nahed, but also been Vala Nahed's best man.
The report seems to have appeared on the US media not to hurt the Iranian foreign minister, but to damage Kerry's credit and reputation as the Republicans and the Israeli lobbies have started massive propaganda to torpedo a recent nuclear deal struck between the six world powers and Iran. Only the powerful Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, has declared a 20 million dollar fund for the purpose. And the Vanessa-Brian story only seems to be the beginning.
It is true, however, that Kerry has a personal relationship with Zarif that predates the nuclear talks. The diplomats' relationship was reported in a 2012 book by author Hooman Majd..
Collected on: 08/04/2015
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
In 2009, Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry, married an Iranian-American physician named Dr. Brian (Behrooz) Vala Nahed. The best man at that wedding?
The son of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Rouhani administration and Kerry’s chief counterpart in the nuclear deal negotiations