Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last night doubled down on a controversial Wednesday speech in which he branded Israel a “rabid dog” – part of a diatribe in which he also declared that Israeli leaders “cannot be called humans” but “are like animals” – by posting images to Twitter and Facebook with the line “Israel is the sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region.”
Commenting on the controversy, the Wall Street Journal noted differences between French and American reactions:
The French government quickly challenged Mr. Khamenei, calling his speech “unacceptable,” while the Obama administration offered a much milder response.
This divergence mirrored the differing tactics Paris and Washington displayed two weeks ago during negotiations in the Swiss lakeside city.
Then, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius publicly broke from the U.S. and other international powers and called the terms of the agreement being pursued with Tehran a “fool’s game.”
A senior Obama administration official, who spoke to reporters during a background briefing in Geneva, had in fact pointedly declined to condemn Khamenei not only for his attack on Israel but also for his insinuation that the U.S. had launched a nuclear attack on Japan after the country had functionally surrendered. Instead the administration official noted while they “don’t ever like it” when people speak about the United States in such terms:
There are decades of mistrust between the United States and Iran, and we certainly have had many people in our society say difficult things about Iran and Iranians, and not always necessarily made a difference between governmental decisions and culture and people and – this is a very difficult terrain is, I guess, my bottom line here, because there are these decades of mistrust.
Amid widespread international disbelief at the U.S. stance, administration officials today issued what the Jerusalem Post described as “belated condemnation.”
[Photo: AFP / YouTube]