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April 19, 2014

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US pulls out of Tunisia event during Iran speech

Updated Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 8:36 a.m.

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The U.S. delegation to the ceremony celebrating Tunisia's new constitution walked out during remarks from the speaker of Iran's parliament.

While congratulating Tunisia on its constitution, Ali Larijani slammed the U.S. and Israel for working against Arab Spring revolutions and called the Jewish state a "cancerous tumor" in the region.

The U.S. statement said its delegation departed because Larijani's remarks were "false accusations and inappropriate comments."

The event was celebrating Tunisia's post-revolutionary constitution, seen as one of the most progressive in the region and featured French President Francois Hollande.

The remarks by Larijani, a hardliner, come as relations between U.S. and Iran have shown modest signs of improvement.