State Department spokesman Ned Price had another tense exchange with an Associated Press reporter Monday after the Biden administration claimed that its recent decision to waive sanctions on Iran was not a concession.
“That long list of things that you said these waivers give, you’re saying that there is no benefit to Iran in any of that?” reporter Matt Lee asked. Price replied that the benefit was that of non-proliferation “for us.” When Lee pressed again if there was any benefit to Iran, Price interrupted and told him, “You don’t need to raise your voice.”
The Biden administration announced Friday that it would be seeking a “return to the status quo” by waiving sanctions on Iran imposed by the Trump administration. The State Department reasoned that waiving sanctions would “facilitate discussions” that would allow Iran and the United States to return back to the commitments agreed to in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA). (RELATED: Iran Ramps Up Uranium Enrichment To Highest Levels Ever As Biden Seeks To Re-Enter Nuclear Deal)
The move would also allow foreign countries and companies from Russia, China and Europe to cooperate with Iran in assisting the non-military parts of Iran’s nuclear program under the terms of the 2015 deal, something Lee pointed out later in the exchange.
WATCH: Reporter calls out State Department Spokesman Ned Price for denying that Iran benefits from Biden lifting sanctions.
“Who do you think this benefits, just you?” pic.twitter.com/SjAaep8sBZ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 8, 2022
“Who do you think this benefits, just you?” Lee asked.
“We know this is a benefit to us. The ability of third-party entities to work on nuclear non-proliferation projects, nuclear safety projects in Iran, in the face of our growing concerns … that is to our benefit.”
“The people that this benefits, in fact, are actually Russian and Chinese and European companies. Right? Is that what you’re saying?” Lee pressed.
“Matt, what I am saying is … it benefits us to be able to address nuclear safety and nuclear non-proliferation concerns in Iran,” Price said.
This is the second time in a week that Lee has had a war of words with Price. On Thursday, Price bristled when Lee pressed him on reports that Russia was planning a false flag propaganda video to use as a pretext for invading Ukraine.
“If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and want to find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do,” Price said at the time.
Lee is not the only one to express concern over the lifting of sanctions on Iran. Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez also expressed concern about returning to the JCPOA stating.
“While the deal the U.S. and our partners are pursuing in Vienna would ostensibly seek to reverse technological advancements, the acquisition of knowledge is never reversible,” he said, according to NBC News. “At this point, we seriously have to ask, ‘What exactly are we trying to salvage?’”