AP reporter again spars with State Department’s Ned Price over Iran: ‘Don’t need to raise your voice’

State Department spokesperson Ned Price was pressed in a heated back and forth Monday with The Associated Press‘ diplomatic reporter on whether the Biden administration lifting some sanctions benefited the Shia Islamist regime. 

Lee asked, “Ned, are you saying that that long list of things that you said that these waivers give. You’re saying that there’s no benefit to Iran in any of that?”

Price replied, “I am saying that the net benefit of this is a nonproliferation goal for us.”

Lee pressed again, “Iran gets nothing out of it?”

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“Matt, you don’t need to raise your voice,” Price replied.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price

State Department spokesperson Ned Price
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BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WAIVES SANCTIONS ON IRANIAN CIVILIAN NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES AS DEAL TALKS HANG IN BALANCE

On Friday, the Biden administration restored civil nuclear waivers for international nuclear cooperation with Iran. 

The State Department maintained the sanctions relief was “not a concession to Iran” and that it would ensure the global sponsor of terror was scaling back on its nuclear program with the hopes it would return to the JCPOA. Critics blasted the move and raised Iran’s past history of exploiting such agreements in order to bolster its non-civil nuclear ambitions. 

“You guys are the ones who said you were restoring the waivers, right? So if Iran really gets no benefit at all out of this, then you know what? Why even bother?” Lee asked.

Iran's Valfajr torpedoes in an undisclosed location.

Iran’s Valfajr torpedoes in an undisclosed location.
(Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

“The fact is, Matt, that what is in our nonproliferation interest can also be, in some ways, in Iran’s interest,” Price said. 

“So do they get it? Do they get any benefit? … I don’t understand how you can say that Iran gets no benefit. And this isn’t some kind of sanctions relief that you, that the administration has offered to Iran before [sic] it hasn’t made any of its own concessions.” 

Lee also asked why the administration notified Congress about their move, and whether it fell under, The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, also known as INARA. The law grants Congress the right to review any agreement which aims to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. 

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U.S. Capitol building 

U.S. Capitol building 
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Price responded that Congress was not notified under INARA. “What I can say is that we’ve had conversations with Congress about requirements should we be in a position to resume compliance with the JCPOA,” he said. “I have no reason to believe that this was done pursuant to INARA.”

“Well, it’s a technical issue and I get that and it is probably boring the hell out of everybody, but it is an important one because even if the notification wasn’t done under INARA, do you think that the waivers triggered the INARA requirements for any agreement with Iran related to its nuclear program? These do relate to its nuclear program.”

Price responded that he didn’t have an answer to the question, and would provide an answer at a later date. 

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