U.S. walks out of Tunisia ceremony after Iran jibe
Ali Larijani accuses the United States of seeking to thwart Arab uprisings
A U.S. delegation walked out of the ceremony to celebrate Tunisia's new constitution on Friday in protest against statements made by the representative of Iran who accused the United States of undermining the Arab Spring.
“What was intended to be a ceremony honoring Tunisia’s achievements was used by the Iranian representative as a platform to denounce the United States,” the U.S. embassy in Tunis said in a statement.
“The U.S. representatives present at the NCA / Constitution Ceremony departed the ceremony due to the false accusations and inappropriate comments made by the Iranian representative present regarding the United State,” the embassy statement added.
In his address to the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani accused the United States and Israel of working to destroy pro-democracy uprisings that swept the region in 2011.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maghreb Affairs and Egypt, William Roebuck, was Washington's top representative at the ceremony, which was also attended by African and Arab leaders, as well as French President Francois Hollande.
The walkout came after Larijani charged, according to an Arab translation of his speech, that Israel and the United States had "tried to render these (Arab) revolutions sterile, and to make them deviate from their course so that Israel can benefit."
Selim Ben Abdesslem, a Tunisian lawmaker, said it was impossible to censure the speeches made at the ceremony, according to AFP.
"The Americans didn't like what the Iranian said. He could be put in his place... but everyone is free to hold their views."
The NCA overwhelmingly adopted Tunisia's new constitution on January 26, in what was seen as a milestone in getting Tunisia's troubled transition back on track, three years after the ouster of former autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in the first Arab Spring uprising.
Tunisia basks in praise over its new constitutionWith the passage of the constitution, Tunisia’s image abroad has brightened immeasurably Analysis
Tunisia plans to issue more than $2bn in bonds in 2014, says central bankTunisia won support from Washington in its progress towards full democracy after approving a new constitution last week Banking & Finance
Tunisia: Alleged killer of Chokri Belaid deadAt least 23 militants were killed in a firefight with Tunisian forces in the capital Africa
Artists launch ‘draw-in’ campaign over jailed Tunisia cartoonistThe launch of the campaign comes nearly two weeks after Tunisia adopted a new constitution Art and culture
Obama invites new Tunisian leader to WashingtonPresident congratulates Tunisia’s interim PM on the formation of a government and a landmark constitution Middle East
special mission: Tunisia’s crippling problemsSpecial Mission
Tunisia seeks new beginnings through constitutionTunisian legislators showed overwhelming support for the new constitution Sunday night when they voted it in by a wide margin of 200 in favor, 12 ... Middle East
Tunisia trims 2014 growth forecast to 3.8%The bank said budget deficit was 8.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, compared with 8.2 percent in 2012 Economy
Tunisia’s tourism minister resigns over 2006 Israel tripAmel Karboul says she was not able to enter Israel due to problem at Tel Aviv airport security Middle East
Want to defeat al-Qaeda? Start with TunisiaPresident Obama’s State of the Union speech devoted precious little time to the Middle East, the Arab Spring, or the Muslim world World
IMF releases fresh funds to Tunisia as new government sworn inThe funds are part of a two-year loan agreed last June to support reforms in the country Economy