At a press briefing on Tuesday, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki over the Obama administration’s treatment of Iran versus Israel.
“When the supreme leader of Iran is continuing, in the middle of these negotiations, to make statements like ‘death to America,’ how is that not problematic?" Lee asked. "Why are you just willing to let it slide, basically? And you are holding the prime minister of Israel to comments that he made that have since changed.”
“Well, Matt, I think we’d hardly put the supreme leader and the leadership of Israel in the same category,” Psaki replied.
“The Iranians can be trusted and the Israelis can’t?” Lee fired.
“No, I’m actually trying to convey that our relationship with Israel is abiding. It’s strong. It’s a security relationship. It’s one that we’re committed to,” Psaki explained.
“Do we have disagreements on some issues, like how we should proceed with preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon? Yes. Do we believe that it isn’t possible to just forget what the prime minister says when it’s conflicting with past precedent and past policy for some time? Yes. But obviously we’re continuing our discussions.”
Psaki continued, “We’re not evaluating our relationship with Israel. We’re evaluating how to proceed as it relates to pursuing a two-state solution.”
For the rest of the fiery exchange, check out the video below.
Amid ongoing nuclear talks with the White House, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led a crowd in Tehran in chanting “death to America” on Saturday.
According to The Times of Israel, Khamenei fired up his audience by saying that Iran would not submit to Western demands.
“Sanctions must be lifted immediately,” he said.
When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” Iran’s supreme leader responded,
“Of course, yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.”
How the Obama administration can continue negotiations with a country whose leader clearly despises the U.S. and openly calls for its “death" - yet, can continue to chastise the prime minister of our Middle Eastern ally in democracy for remarks made during a run for re-election - certainly does seem like a question that deserves an better answer than Psaki gave today.