Kerry slams 'inflammatory' Iranian rhetoric

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday slammed Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's comments calling Israel a “rabid dog,” saying they were “inflammatory and unnecessary.”

“Obviously we don't think that anything is served by names that challenge everybody's sense of propriety,” Kerry said after Sen. Marc Rubio (R-Fla.) pressed him to denounce the comments.

“I don't want to exacerbate it now, sitting here,” Kerry added during a Senate hearing on a separate issue. “But our good friends in Israel know full well that we defend their concerns.”

Khamenei's comments have complicated talks in Geneva, where the U.S. and other nations are seeking to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program. Republicans concerned with the negotiations with Iran latched onto Khamenei's comments Wednesday after administration officials failed to condemn them as “unacceptable,” as the French did.

“The statements made by Iran’s Supreme Leader are more than 'uncomfortable',” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) tweeted Wednesday. “They should be condemned.”

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