The Supreme Leader’s speech on National Nuclear Technology Day last week has created certain public relations problems for the Obama administration. The Supreme Leader insists that Iran is to be afforded sanctions relief upon signing a final agreement. The United States insists that sanctions are to be lifted as Iran complies with its commitments under a final agreement (details to be determined).
Who ya gonna believe, our Supreme Leader or theirs? I have found Iran to be a more reliable guide in these matters than the Obama administration. President Obama has adopted a variant of Ring Lardner’s “‘Shut up,’ he explained” approach. “It needs to stop,” Obama commented on criticism of the pending arrangement over the weekend. (Mark Salter pushes back on behalf of Senator McCain et al. in “Obama owes critics of the Iran deal an apology.”)
Obama is endlessly understanding of the Supreme Leader’s comments. “Even a guy with the title ‘Supreme Leader’ has to be concerned about his own constituencies,” Obama asserted at the Summit of the Americas over the weekend.
How about a guy with the title “president”? Assuming the observation applies to Khameni, the same applies even more say to him. Barack Obama and John Kerry have proved many times over that they will say anything in the service of a bad cause. Obama’s understanding of the Supreme Leader seems to represent a pure case of projection.
Secretary Kerry appeared yesterday on Face the Nation. “The Russians, who are not our usual allies, released a statement saying that what we have put out in terms of our information is both reliable and accurate,” Kerry said.
The New York Post reports that the State Department points to an article from Russian news agency Interfax where Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the White House fact sheet “truthful and reliable.”
I can’t find the Interfax article. AP diplomatic reporter Matt Lee put out a call for it on Twitter yesterday. In his first of two tweets after taking a look at the article, Lee confirmed the “truthful and reliable” quote. In the second tweet (below), Lee noted Rybakov’s observation that the United States “fact sheet” left out unresolved issues like “amount & sequence” of sanctions relief and UN action.
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) April 12, 2015