State Dept. vs NYT in Twitter Fight on Iran

by Abigail Williams /  / Updated 
Image: SWITZERLAND-US-UK-GERMANY-RUSSIA-IRAN-NUCLEAR-TALKS
From left US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier wait for a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel March 31, 2015 in Lausanne. Officials are meeting in Switzerland for negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOLBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images

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The State Department took to the Twitter-verse and doubled down Wednesday on their objections to a New York Times report that Iran's increased nuclear fuel stockpile presented a major obstacle to reaching a June 30th deadline on nuclear negotiations with that country.

The article cited a report released Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations organization charged with monitoring nuclear treaty compliance. The New York Times interpreted the report as showing that Tehran has increased its stockpile of nuclear fuel by 20% over the last 18 months.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf vociferously disagreed with that take and has insisted that western officials fully expected Iran's stockpile to fluctuate calling it "routine, "absolutely normal" and "allowable," for them to do so.

The reporter, David Sanger, took to Twitter to defend his work.

Not to be outdone, Harf tweeted repeatedly at Sanger highlighting what she saw as inaccuracies in the story.

Here’s their full exchange.

Harf continued the fight on Twitter this morning

The next round of Iran nuclear negotiations begins tomorrow in Vienna where lead U.S. negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, arrived this morning. Despite speculation of a change in venue following the Secretary of State John Kerry’s leg injuries, Harf said the discussions are expected to stay in the Austrian city through the deadline.

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