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May 3, 2015 4:12 pm

AP Reporter to State Dept: If Iran ‘Routinely Screws’ Other Western Countries, Why is Nuke Deal Any Different (VIDEO)

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AP Reporter Matt Lee questioned State Department Spokesman on Iran's trustworthiness on the nuclear deal. PHOTO: LinkedIn

In a testy exchange on Friday between Associated Press reporter Matt Lee and the State Department’s Acting Deputy Spokesman, Jeff Rathke, Lee questioned whether the Iranian regime can be trusted to adhere to the nuclear deal with world powers now under discussion in New York.

If the Iranians “routinely…screw other countries in this hemisphere on agreements,” Lee asked, why does the State Department view the nuclear deal differently.

Lee said his question was prompted by recent remarks made by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, in which she said that, “the involvement of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is never benign.”

She said that Iran’s efforts to infiltrate the Western Hemisphere had been blunted not only by pressure from sanctions, but because many countries in the West had become distrustful of the Iranians because they have constantly failed to live up to the agreements they have negotiated with those countries.

In response, Rathke claimed that the potential nuclear deal was different to the other agreements Iran had signed, saying, “I think that there’s a difference between the types of agreements you’re talking about.”

“What we’re talking about in the nuclear context, is first of all, a situation where there is a unified international community,” he said, “where there are international sanctions, a wide variety of them: UN sanctions, United States sanctions, European Union sanctions, as well as others that put pressure on Iran and also that make it in Iran’s interest to deal with those sanctions and to negotiate on the nuclear program.”

When pressed by Lee, Rathke declined to elaborate, saying that he was not going to “draw parallels between the kinds of agreements that may be aspirational,” or are “of a different nature from the nuclear agreement we’re negotiating.”

Lee continued with a question about the funds that would be freed up to Iran as part of the nuclear deal, and whether Iran would, in turn, use this money to increase its presence and influence in the Western Hemisphere.

Rathke responded by saying that Iran’s nuclear issue was “the priority,” because it was, “the most direct and the greatest perceived threat to deal with,” adding that there were “separate ways” to deal with Iran’s other activities, “whether it’s in regional context, whether it’s support for terrorism, and so forth.”

Watch the full exchange below (5:20):

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  • Ezra

    This administration does not nor has it ever cared about Iran ontaining nuclear weapons. This president is only interested in a “deal”, any deal so long as he is credited with signing one.

    Iran can not nor will it ever be trustworthy so long as the Ayatolahs are in power. Since this administration can not be trusted to do the right thing, it is Congress who needs to have strict oversight of any deal this administration puts forth.

  • Lynne T

    The regime is a threat globally. The deal is mainly about which P5+1 countries get to be Iran’s leal suppliers.

  • Markus

    how long will it take the USA to understand Islamic type of “peace agreements”or adherence to any deal. Lying is allowed to further the Islamic agenda. Islam and truth simply do not go hand in hand.When these countries like Iran feel strong enough they will start a war against whoever threatens Islam
    whether a real or imaginary threat is irrelevant

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  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    If Iran…? the perfect question. But it seems the repoter who asks it didn’t contemplate Obama awarness of Iran’s projetcs repeatidly annonuced: death to Israel (first) and to America (second). Difficult to swallow maybe

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  • I still say, Obama’s bottom line is that he is a Sunni Moslem, and that the Shiite regime in Iran and its allies must be defeated for the glory of Sunni Islam.

    Obama will, in the end, fight Shiite Islam to the last Israeli bullet hoping that Israel and the Shiites will duke it out destroying each other. That’s his second commandment: destroy Israel.

    And then of course, his third and final command from his Saudi masters is to Islamicze America. No criticism of Islam will be tolerated.

  • NuritG

    Why ALL the Obama’s White House Spokesmen are so dumb and are professional liars?

  • Reform School

    President Obama and Secretaries Kerry and Clinton have made abundantly clear that until their families no longer live in Iran, and their lives are no longer threatened by Iran, when all is said and done, lots more will be said than done

  • Obama recklessly risks our security and the west’s with deal designed to insure that the worst terorist nation gets nukes, if they haven’t already bought them. The Saudis and their allies have or will have them. Obama is the greatest danger our country and the west have ever faced. In the MIDDLE EAST, religious wars will cause nukes to be fired, and it will spin out of control. Only Congress can slow or halt this mad rush to Armageddon by a president who seems to have cracked under pressure and is unpredictable.

  • M. Otero

    Mr.Obama does not understand that we don’t believe him anymore.

  • Jacqueline

    Sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me. Iran can’t be trusted they brake treaties but this is differance Ok chamberland. History repeats itself.

  • Prof. Dr. Herbert Reginbogin

    USA lifts sanctions for Iran to receive 50 billion dollars which in part can be used for state sponsored terrorism. How can this be a good deal when a nuclear threat when the intent has never changed.

    However, when dealing with 5 other countries negotiating an agreement with Iran its not that straight forward because among those countries is Russia supportive of Syria’s President and supported by Iran’s state terrorist organization Hezbollah. We have a fox in the lion’s den. A verifiable on the ground inspection without notice and limitations is conditio sine qua non for the ratification by the U.S. Congress.

  • steven L

    He has responses for everything but does it solve the global Iran threat which is supported by China and Russia.

  • Sofia

    Bravo, Mr. Matt Lee, AP Reporter when he asked about Iran.
    We also would like to know, why the West especially the US is adamant about dealing with Iran, who never honored any agreements.


  • art

    The entire Obama/Kerry approach is a fraud. The US has already abandoned its redlines and made concessions. Of course we do not have any real idea of what is going on. Every statement made by Obama/Kerry that sounds not too bad is immediately responded to by an iranian statement basically calling Obama/Kerry a liar and countering any claims The only realistic conclusion is to believe that the Obama?kerry administration is dishonest The sanctions are already crumbling and will not “snap Back” that is clearly a lie. Every act or statement by iran proves that they can not be trusted

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Bring back the “valley girls”!

  • Michael Garfinkel

    I miss the State Department valley girls!!

  • nelson marans

    A liar is a liar, no matter what the circumstances may be. Are the State Department and President Obama so naive that they think that Iran will honor a scrap of paper that we call an agreement or treaty and Iran calls it a matter of convenience in advancing their nuclear agenda.

  • dante

    rathke makes himself look like a complete fool…but, that is inevitable because his boss, obama, is stubbornly and inexplicably determined to hand iran a victory despite:
    1. the reasonable opposition of our regional allies;
    2. iran’s hegemonic ambitions and the programme to realise same;
    3. iran’s support for regional and int’l terrorism;
    4. iran’s demonstrated untrustworthiness & documented deceptions;
    5. iran’s icbm programme;
    6. iran’s gratuitous but insistent threats against Israel;
    7. iran’s support for the assad regime and its war against syria;
    8. iran’s support for the houthi coup in yemen; and,
    9. iran’s establishment of military bases in the western hemisphere.

    so, rathke is a fool, for sure, but only because he is a man without integrity who works for an even bigger fool.