This is an incredible exchange.
QUESTION: Ned, can I just – just in the context of what’s been going on over the last couple of months with Iran since the indirect talks resumed or started in Vienna, you have the Houthis increasing their offensive in Marib and the situation in Yemen getting worse. Presumably, you think that these people are Iran-affiliated, Iran-tied, and that they take their orders from Tehran.
You have the DOJ charging Iranian agents with attempting to kidnap journalists from the United States. You have the attack on the Mercer Street vessel, which was a deadly attack. And you have this – whether or not this report today is true about the prisoners, you have Abbas Araghchi’s comments from the other week that you personally labeled outrageous and said they were ridiculous.
So my – this is my question: Is there anything that you can think of that Iran could do that would make you say, no, I’m sorry, we’re not interested in going back to the talks in Vienna because you have shown on virtually every level no goodwill at all? Is there anything that you can think of that Iran might do that would make the talks – that would make you uninterested in continuing?
I’ll skip past a lot of quibbling and hedging by Ned Price, Biden’s State Dept spokesman, in response to a simple question.
QUESTION: Let me try to get an answer to the question that I asked at the beginning, which was just: Is there anything that you can think of that they could do or they would do that would make you uninterested in returning to – or that would take the offer of returning to the Vienna talks off the table?
MR PRICE: I am not going to weigh in on a hypothetical, on a blue-sky hypothetical at that. What I would say is that it will always be in the interest of the United States of America to see to it that Iran is permanently and verifiably prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It is hard for me to imagine – again, without being categorical about this – to – where we would arrive at a point where we would say —
MR PRICE: — Iran should have a nuclear weapon.
QUESTION: Well – all right, well, you changed it a little bit. But basically, you’re saying there’s nothing that Iran could do that would make you take the offer of talks —
MR PRICE: No, I – those words did not come out of my mouth. I —
QUESTION: Well, I know.
MR PRICE: The words that came out of my mouth were —
QUESTION: All right, I’ll stop.
MR PRICE: — it will always be in the interest of the United States of America —
QUESTION: And I won’t say another word.
Price, in typical Ben Rhodes fashion, tries to flip variables so that refusing to appease Iran becomes allowing it to have nukes, while appeasing it is positioned as a suppression of its nuclear program. But set aside this dishonest and nonsensical narrative, and Price has admitted, even while denying it, that he can’t name a single thing that the Islamic terrorist state could do that would stop Biden from negotiating with it.
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