A video of U.S. President Joe Biden saying that the nuclear deal with Iran is “dead” but that Washington will not announce as much surfaced on Tuesday.
The footage, which was apparently taken during Biden’s visit to California early last month, shows a woman asking him to declare that the 2015 agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is no longer in effect.
“President Biden, could you please announce that the JCPOA is dead?” the Iranian-American woman asks, as the American president approaches her.
“No,” Biden replies.
“Why not?” she shoots back.
“A lot of reasons. It is dead, but we’re not gonna announce it. Long story, but we’re gonna make sure…,” answers Biden.
The woman then asserts, “We just don’t want any deals with the mullahs, they don’t represent us, they’re not our government.”
To which Biden responds: “Oh, I know they don’t represent you, but they’ll have a nuclear weapon that they’ll represent.”
European Union-led talks to revive the nuclear deal have been ongoing in Vienna since April 2021, although they began to sputter this summer after a lengthy period of reported progress.
In September, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that a new agreement was “unlikely” in the near term.
The following month, State Department spokesman Ned Price similarly said that Washington was not focused on reviving the moribund deal, adding that the Islamic Republic had shown little interest in moving ahead with negotiations.
“The Iranians have made very clear that this is not a deal that they have been prepared to make. The deal certainly does not appear imminent,” he said.
The U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, on Oct. 31 said that the Biden administration was not “wasting time” on pursuing negotiations. “I think people have to understand that [we] were not tying our hands because of…this hope that someday maybe there’ll be a deal,” said Malley.
“We are not going to focus on something that is inert when other things are happening,” he continued, referencing the protests in Iran and Tehran’s decision “to get involved in a war in Europe” by transferring weapons to Russia.
“Nothing is happening on the nuclear deal, so we are not going to spend our time, waste our time on it if nothing is happening. We are going to spend our time where we can be useful,” he added.
In July, Malley said that Iran was just “a matter of weeks” away from having enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.