U.S. responds to Twitter comments by Iranian foreign minister
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Tuesday during his daily press briefing. Carney responded to a question about comments made by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on the social media website Twitter on Monday. After President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Zarif accused the U.S. of imposing illegal sanctions and threats against Iran.
Carney said that when Obama took office in January 2009, it was obvious that the issue in the nuclear program matter was not the U.S. but the behavior of Iran.
"(President Obama) took office in January 2009, making clear his willingness to have bilateral discussions with Tehran, if Tehran was willing to address seriously the international community's concerns about its nuclear program," Carney said. "Because of the position he took, it became clear at the time that the United States was not the issue here, it was the behavior of Iran. And that clarity allowed for the building of the most comprehensive set of sanctions that the world has ever seen."
Carney said the sanctions led to a new government in Iran that is indicating a willingness to diplomatically negotiate a solution to the problem. He said words are important in the process, but the President will demand that Iran takes action.
"Ultimately, though, as the President made clear, words here are meaningful, but actions are most meaningful," Carney said. "And it is only through verifiable, transparent resolution of this challenge where the international community can be confident that Iran has given up its nuclear weapons ambitions that we can get a resolution. And the President will be very firm on that."