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US Officials Stress That Iran Nuke Deal ‘Not On The Agenda’ Following Video of Biden Comments

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranian opposition activists demonstrate in Vienna outside negotiations to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Photo: Reuters/Lisa Leutner

US officials have poured cold water on the prospects for a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, one day after a previously unseen video emerged of US President Joe Biden telling a woman that the deal was “dead, but we’re not gonna announce it.”

Speaking to reporters in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said the administration “simply [doesn’t] see a deal coming together anytime soon, while Iran continues to kill its own citizens and sell UAVs to Russia.”

Kirby underlined that the Biden Administration’s focus now was on “practical ways to confront Iran in those areas and not on the Iran deal.”

The amateur video unearthed on Tuesday and posted to social media showed Biden at a Nov. 4 midterm elections campaign stop in Oceanside, California. An Iranian woman present was heard asking the president off-camera whether he would announce the death of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the technical name for the 2015 deal. Biden answered “no,” adding that there were “a lot of reasons” why the US would not take this step.

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However, Biden was clear that in his view, the JCPOA “is dead, but we’re not gonna announce it.”

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was also asked about Biden’s comments on Tuesday. While Price did not pronounce the JCPOA “dead,” he said that it was “certainly the case that the Iranians killed the opportunity for a swift return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA.”

Price stated that the “JCPOA is not on the agenda” and “hasn’t been on the agenda for some time.” Echoing Kirby, he said that since mass anti-regime protests in Iran erupted in September, “our focus has been on standing up for the fundamental freedoms of the Iranian people and countering Iran’s deepening military partnership with Russia and its support for Russia, as Moscow wages its brutal invasion of Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards — Quds Force — the Iranian regime’s international military arm — signaled on Wednesday that there would be no let-up in the repression of the protests. Speaking to state media outlets, Gen. Esmail Ghaani declared that “no decent woman has removed her veil in public.” The wave of protests was sparked by the Sept. 23 death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the regime’s “morality police” for allegedly not wearing her hijab, or head covering, in the ascribed manner.

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