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Reporter Presses Biden Admin 8 Times To Name 1 Sanction Improperly Put On Iran By Trump. They Can’t Name Any.

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Matt Lee, a reporter with The Associated Press, repeatedly pressed Biden State Department official Ned Price on Thursday to name a single example of a sanction that the Trump administration improperly placed on Iran.

Price, who could not name a single example, faced the question as the Biden administration tries to negotiate with Iran to bring Iran back the the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Yesterday, a senior State Department official talked about this administration’s belief that the previous administration had disingenuously or improperly imposed sanctions on Iran for terrorism, ostensibly for terrorism reasons, but they were really designed to make it harder for any future administration to return to the nuclear deal,” Lee said. “Can you give us an example of one sanction, or set of sanctions, that you think fits that category?”

Lee proceeded to repeatedly press Price on the issue and never received an answer over the course of roughly five minutes.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA THE STATE DEPARTMENT:

QUESTION: Yesterday, a senior State Department official talked about this administration’s belief that the previous administration had disingenuously or improperly imposed sanctions on Iran for terrorism, ostensibly for terrorism reasons, but they were really designed to make it harder for any future administration to return to the nuclear deal. In other words, they labeled what – nuclear sanctions as terrorism sanctions, or human rights sanctions, things that would be exempted or wouldn’t be allowed to be done under the deal. Can you give us an example of one sanction, or set of sanctions, that you think fits that category?

MR PRICE: Well, your question is a very good way, device, to seek me to – an attempt to elicit some more detail on the various sanctions —

QUESTION: No.

MR PRICE: — and the categories of sanctions. But let me make the broader point —

QUESTION: I’m not. I just want one example of a sanction, or set of sanctions, that you think was improperly or illegitimately or that the – that the Trump administration imposed with an ulterior motive of tying your – of tying this administration or any other administration’s hands in returning to the deal. Just one. Just one. I’m not asking for the whole set.

MR PRICE: I would make – I would make the point that there are sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA. And as we have said, if Iran resumes its compliance with the nuclear deal – meaning that if Iran once again becomes subject to the most stringent verification and monitoring regime ever negotiated – we would be prepared to lift those sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA. There are sanctions that are consistent with the JCPOA. I —

QUESTION: And then there’s the third category that this official talked about. And all I’m asking for is one example. There are —

MR PRICE: There are sanctions that are consistent with the JCPOA. And the point —

QUESTION: No, name one example of what you think was duplicitously or disingenuously imposed.

MR PRICE: The point I made yesterday is that there is nothing in the JCPOA that does not, that prohibits us from countering Iran’s broader malign behavior – its ballistic missiles program, support for terrorism, support for proxies in the region.

Now, the point of these negotiations, and the point of these talks, is that if it were very clear if sanctions were – came to us, came to this administration, labeled green or red, it would be a much easier proposition for us to resume compliance, to do what we would need to do to resume compliance if Iran committed to do the same. As you know, sanctions do not come pre-packaged. The diplomacy did not come pre-arranged for us. And that’s why we’re engaging in these talks in Vienna. This is precisely —

QUESTION: Yeah, but then you can’t have it – make an accusation like this official did that the previous administration acted in bad faith, that it was only attempting to screw over anyone who came after them who might want to get back into the deal by mislabeling or improperly labeling nuclear sanctions as terrorism sanctions, I think you have an obligation to give one example of the kind of sanction that you think needs further study so that you can determine what the motive is. I mean, it’s a pretty serious allegation, right? Is it not?

MR PRICE: The challenge, though, Matt, is that this is very much the subject of diplomacy in Vienna. And again —

QUESTION: You’ve already identified the three baskets, according to this official. You’ve got these three baskets: consistent, inconsistent, and gray area that you’re trying to determine. I don’t see what the problem is in identifying one example of something that falls into a gray area.

MR PRICE: It’s a little more complicated than that, in part because there are going to be differences of opinion between the United States and Iran as to what may fall within that gray area as you —

QUESTION: But Ned, there’s clearly a difference of opinion between this administration and the previous administration.

MR PRICE: Of course.

QUESTION: Okay? So talk – let’s forget about the Iranians for a second. What does this administration – give me one example of what this administration thinks was a – is a sanction that may have been duplicitously imposed by the previous administration for – in an attempt to tie your hands.

MR PRICE: The reason I am hesitant to do that is because you’re asking me to prejudge what may happen withing —

QUESTION: You already have decided which there – which sanctions fit into that third basket.

MR PRICE: No, Matt, I think that the comments yesterday made very clear that this is a subject of ongoing diplomacy, ongoing discussions in Vienna. Again, if it were clear cut, if they came pre-labeled and pre-packaged for us, it would be a much easier proposition. It’s precisely why —

QUESTION: But they did come pre – they came pre-labeled. You’re saying you don’t agree with the label and that they were acting in bad faith when they did it. So just one.

MR PRICE: Matt —

QUESTION: All right. Really —

MR PRICE: This is the point of diplomacy.

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