A senior U.S. official in Geneva, Switzerland refused to condemn comments made by Ayatollah Khamenei in which the Iranian supreme leader referred to Israel as a "rabid dog," Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed reports.
The official said the rhetoric made him "uncomfortable" and was "unwarranted," but specifically avoided rebuking Khamenei.
A French spokesperson condemned the remarks earlier today, calling them "unacceptable":
A senior U.S. administration official said that inflammatory rhetoric by the Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday was "uncomfortable" but did not condemn it as unacceptable, as the French have done.
"Of course I don’t ever like it when people use rhetoric that in any way talks about the U.S. in ways that I find very uncomfortable and not warranted whatsoever," the official told reporters assembled in Geneva to cover Iran nuclear talks this week.
The official was asked about Khamenei’s address to the Basij paramilitary force on Wednesday in which he referred to Israel as a "rabid dog" and accused the U.S. of launching a nuclear attack on Japan after the country had surrendered in World War II. The official did not specifically address the "rabid dog" comment.
A French government spokesperson on Wednesday condemned the remarks, calling them "unacceptable" and saying that they "complicate" talks.