White House condemns Iran's decision to honor Hezbollah terrorist
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Wednesday aboard Air Force One en route to Raleigh, N.C. Carney was asked about Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's decision to place a wreath at the grave of Imad Mugniyah. He said the White House condemned the decision, and despite ongoing denuclearization negotiations, the U.S. must not let up in its views and positions.
"I think this speaks to the fact that through the P5-plus-1 and the agreements that have been negotiated, and the process moving forward, we are addressing with our international partners the profound and important challenge of ensuring that Iran does not develop and obtain a nuclear weapon," Carney said. "Even as we pursue that and do it in a way that demands transparency and verifiability from the Iranians, we do not let up in our views and our positions when it comes to other activities, including the support of terrorist organizations that Iran engages in."
Carney said Mugniyah was a former leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah who was responsible for heinous terrorist acts that killed hundreds of individuals.
"The inhumane violence that Mugniyah perpetrated and that Lebanese Hezbollah continues to perpetrate in a region with Iran's financial and materiel support has had profoundly destabilizing and deadly effects for Lebanon and the region," Carney said. "The decision to commemorate an individual who has participated in such vicious acts and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region."
Carney reiterated that the White House will judge Iran on the actions it takes related to denuclearization, not the country's words.
"So our disposition has not changed on these matters," Carney said. "And that's why it's so important to be clear that the actions that Iran takes, the steps it takes to either comply with or not comply with commitments it makes are what we judge Iran by -- not by statements meant for a domestic audience or by promises rather than action. So we're going to press forward."