WASHINGTON — President Biden said last month that the Iran nuclear deal “is dead” but added that “we are not going to announce it — long story,” according to a video that resurfaced Tuesday.
Biden made the remark Nov. 4 to Iranian American protesters who trailed him to an event in California.
“President Biden, could you please announce that JCPOA is dead? Can you just announce that?” a woman asks, using the formal acronym for the 2015 agreement that softened US policy toward Iran in exchange for promises that Tehran wouldn’t seek a nuclear bomb.
“No,” Biden replied.
“No? Why not?” the woman pressed the president.
“No. A lot of reasons. It is dead, but we are not going to announce it — long story. We’re going to make sure —,” Biden began, before being cut off by his questioner.
“We just don’t want any deals with the mullahs. No deals. They don’t represent us. They are not our government,” the woman said.
The commander-in-chief replied, as he backed away, “They’ll have a nuclear weapon they’ll represent.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment or dispute the authenticity of the video, which was posted by Damon Maghsoudi, whose unverified Twitter profile says he’s a Google software engineer living in Southern California.
It’s unclear why it took nearly two months for Biden’s remark to surface. But it’s a common feature of the Biden era for the president’s precise utterances to elude the public record due to poor press logistics and less-intense interest in presidential quips than under his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The Iran nuclear deal was brokered at the end of President Barack Obama’s second term after US and Israeli covert operations attempted for years to subvert the theocratic anti-Western regime’s path to a nuclear weapon.
Opponents of the deal, including Trump, said it didn’t do enough to halt nuclear advances while freeing up cash for Tehran to finance allied fighters and terrorists across the Middle East. The 45th president pulled the US out of the agreement, which also counts China, France, Germany, Great Britain and Russia as parties, in 2018.
Under Biden, US negotiators met with Iranian and European officials in Vienna to discuss renewing the deal, but walked away in August without an agreement after the White House called on Iran to restore compliance with the Obama-era pact.
In recent months, Iran has supplied Russia with drones to assist in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with the White House warning earlier this month that the two nations were building a “full-fledged defense partnership.”