By Rebecca Shabad - 04/10/14 11:03 AM EDT
Former President Carter says Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton vows to appoint trade prosecutor to fight bad policies Clinton lauds Warren in first joint appearance Former Bush national security official backing Clinton over Trump MORE “took very little action” as secretary of State to bring about peace.
Carter, 89, made the remark about the former secretary of State and 2016 Democratic front-runner in a phone interview with Time magazine Wednesday night after he spoke at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
John KerryJohn KerryKerry: NATO work won't change 'one iota' after Brexit Israel, Turkey, repair ties to cheers from US Dozens of Clinton meetings left off State schedule: report MORE has been successful as secretary of State, Carter said, because President Obama has been deeply involved in the foreign policy issues of his second term.
“In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry’s coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues,” he said.
Carter said he emails Kerry “fairly often” about what his thoughts are on various issues, but declined to elaborate on what the messages have covered.
“He has had a very difficult time operating pretty much on his own,” Carter added.
Since he took over in early 2013 as America’s top diplomat, Kerry has made enormous strides in negotiating with the Israelis and Palestinians, and putting an interim nuclear deal with Iran into motion.
Asked if the United States should be friends and allies with Iran again, Carter said “Yes, I think we ought to.”
“If we can’t have full diplomatic relations, we can certainly work out an agreement whereby we can avoid armed conflict," said the former president.