The Twitter account of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has deleted a controversial tweet that said the world had “surrendered to [the] Iranian nation’s will” in coming to an interim agreement on the country’s nuclear energy program.
The tweet made rounds in the U.S., but the statement was part of remarks Rouhani delivered Tuesday in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan. News reports framed the statement as an effort to bring around hard-liners in Iran who believe that the interim agreement infringes upon Iran’s enrichment capabilities.
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about Rouhani’s statements on Tuesday in the first question of his briefing. He too framed it as a likely attempt for Rouhani to appeal to hard-liners in his country.
“It’s not surprising to us, nor should it be to you, that the Iranians are describing the agreement in a certain way for their domestic audience. They did the same thing following the agreement of the Joint Plan of Action in November, and we certainly expected they would do the same thing this time,” Carney said.
“The fact is the agreement marks the first time in a decade that Iran has agreed to specific actions that halt progress on its nuclear program and roll back key aspects of the program, stopping the advance of the program and introducing unprecedented transparency into Iran’s nuclear activities while we negotiate a long-term comprehensive solution.
“So, again, as I said yesterday, it doesn’t matter what they say; it matters what they do.”
The statement came at a time when the U.S. Congress is deeply divided over the possibility of imposing new sanctions on the Iranian regime. The Iran sanctions bill currently being floated in the Senate has 59 bipartisan co-sponsors. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any new sanctions legislation passed by Congress as long as the interim deal is in effect.
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