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State Department Spox Gets Testy When Reporter Asks About 'Secret Exemptions' in Iran Deal

"Don't insult me."

Image source: C-SPAN

Things got testy at a State Department media briefing when a spokesman was pressed for details Thursday on the reported "secret exemptions" given to Iran in the controversial nuclear deal.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said a joint commission had given Iran "guidance" on specific parts of the agreement. But when pressed by Reuters reporter Arshad Mohammed on the "consensus" by the joint commission, things quickly got ugly.

Image source: C-SPAN

"'Consensus,' as you know, means 'unanimous' in diplomatic terms. Every member of the joint commission has opposed making public its work?" Mohammad asked.

"I want to make sure you're saying something accurate here, that every member of the joint commission has decided it's better to keep its deliberations and decisions secret or if you're using the word 'consensus' in some other, non-precise way," Mohammad added.

But Kirby quickly fired back at the reporter: "Don't insult me, and don't stand up there and try to lecture me on English, OK?"

"Let's be grown-ups here," he continued. "In diplomatic discussions, particularly multilateral ones, as I said, those discussions are confidential unless all parties agree otherwise. So, the joint commission — and I don't know who voted for what, and frankly it's irrelevant — the joint commission has decided to keep their work confidential, as they are expected to do, unless they choose otherwise in accordance with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]."

Watch the fiery exchange below:

(H/T: Washington Examiner)

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