AP’s Matt Lee Grills State Dept. on ‘over the Top’ Condolences to Iran’s President

‘Clearly the loss of one’s parent is tragic but this is the leader of a country that you accuse of being the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’

AP Reporter to State Dept: Is There Something Obama's Expecting After Sending Condolences To Iran? (RealClearPolitics)

MATT LEE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I'm wondering today in Luzon, the Secretary personally offered his condolences to the foreign minister and to President Rouhani's brother, then you guys put out a statement in his name, and then that same statement was tweeted. I'm just wondering aren't you guys laying it on a bit thick here? Is there something that you are expecting in terms of Iranian concessions in the negotiations with this display?

U.S. STATE DEPT. SPOKESPERSON: No I wouldn't read anything into it of that sort. The Secretary has been negotiating this week with the Iranians -- one of the members of the Iranian team is the brother of President Rouhani, and so just given where things were in the negotiations, he expressed his condolences. 

MATT LEE, AP: It just seems a little over the top, no? This is the leader of a country --clearly the loss of one's parent is tragic but this is the leader of a country that you accuse of being the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. You accuse of trying to develop a nuclear weapons with which its leaders have said it will use against one of America's top allies. 

And your --it is understandable that one would express condolences, but you're really, it looks like you're going out of the way to make a point here for this. Are you sneding flowers as well what is it you hope to achieve if anything?

STATE DEPT.: Again, I wouldn't read anything into it. The secretary has been engaged in intensive negotiations this week. 

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