Iran nuke deal is ‘dead’ but he can’t announce it

WASHINGTON — President Biden let slip to a group of protesters that the Iran nuclear deal “is dead” before adding, “but we are not going to announce it — long story,” a video that surfaced Tuesday reveals.

Biden made the off-the-cuff 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 towards Iran in exchange for promises that Tehran would not 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 — possibly referring to the looming midterm elections — 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 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.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry meets Iranian diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif during the 2015 Iran nuclear talks in Vienna.
Photothek via Getty Images

But State Department spokesman Ned Price effectively confirmed Biden’s sentiment Tuesday, while pinning the blame on Iran for the failure of talks in Vienna that began last year to discuss renewing the deal.

“The Iranians killed the opportunity for a swift return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA,” Price told reporters.

“They killed that opportunity for a swift return to compliance most recently in September when again we were on the precipice, we thought, of a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.”

Negotiations to resume the Iran nuclear deal resumed after President Biden took office.
Negotiations to resume the Iran nuclear deal resumed after President Biden took office.
EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA/AFP via

Price added that the nuclear talks were no longer “on the agenda” of the US government.

“It hasn’t been on the agenda for some time,” Price said. “Of course, there have been instances where we thought we were on the precipice of a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA only to find the Iranians turning their backs on a deal that was on the table… the Iranians have not and may not ever be in a position to move forward with a swift return to compliance.”

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.

Joe Biden

The Iran nuclear deal was brokered at the end of Barack Obama’s second term.


A handout picture released by Iran's Defense Ministry on December 30, 2021 shows a Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite rocket lifting off during its launch at an undisclosed location in Iran.

A Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite rocket lifting off during its launch at an undisclosed location in Iran.


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Joe Biden

Biden made the remark Nov. 4 to Iranian-American protesters that trailed him to an event in California.


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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 did not 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.

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.”

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