UPDATED 7:10 AM PT – Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Promises made, promises promised” continues to be the Biden administration’s foreign policy approach to the Middle East and Central Asia. This comes as the White House has promised to get Iran to come back to the 2015 nuclear deal and rescue US allies still trapped in Afghanistan.
During a press conference Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price made more demands to the Iranian regime in its latest effort to resurrect the failed 2015 nuclear deal. Price stressed, the Ayatollah has to stop making last minute and impossible demands back to the US, which is a tactic that has stalled negotiations between the two adversary countries.
“We’ve been clear about what a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) would look like,” he stated. “There are issues that the Iranians have put on the table that are clearly extraneous to the four corners of the JCPOA. Every time they have done that, we have made very clear that the JCPOA is about one thing and one thing only. It’s about Iran’s nuclear program. And we are prepared to negotiate one thing and one thing only.”
His remarks comes as Iran has asked the Biden administration to lift several sanctions imposed by 45th President Donald Trump. Diplomats capitulated in part to these demands, including waiving sanctions on Iran’s civil nuclear activities that weren’t connected to its nuclear weapons program. However, more officials entrenched in the national security apparatus were more reluctant to appease Iran’s demand to take the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps off the list of terrorist organizations.
Iran’s leaders have been calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie for decades. We know they’re trying to assassinate American officials today.
Biden needs to immediately end negotiations with this terrorist regime.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 12, 2022
The group has been suspected of launching devastating attacks on behalf of the Ayatollah in Israel and Yemen. The IRGC also reportedly has been linked to the attack on author Salman Rushdie in New York last week. Despite Iran’s claim that it had nothing to do with the attack, the State Department said it will not tolerate any attack on free speech.
“It’s despicable, it’s disgusting, we condemn it,” Price explained. “The secretary yesterday in his statement, while noting that the investigation is ongoing, made the point that Salman Rushdie has been under threat for decades now. And it is no secret that the Iranian regime has been central to the threats against his life over the course of years now. We have heard Iranian officials seek to incite the violence over the years, of course, with the initial fatwa, but even more recently with the gloating that has taken place in the aftermath of this attack on his life. This is something that is absolutely outrageous. It’s despicable. And we want it to be very clear that it is not something that we can tolerate.”
Meanwhile, the State Department spokesman said Biden diplomats will work tirelessly with European partners to make sure the latest EU draft of a nuclear deal is acceptable to all sides. He also touted the Biden administration’s stance that Iran will never produce a nuclear weapon.
“We seek to have reimposed once again, to see to it that Iran’s nuclear program is no longer able to gallop forward,” Prices stated. “Iran can no longer march forward towards a breakout time that is growing shorter and shorter, and as it does so, acts with greater impunity around the world.”
The State Department spokesperson also touched on the developments of the crisis in Afghanistan, one year after the botched withdrawal began. Price, like many people in the Biden administration, deferred responsibility back to the Trump administration that had been out of power for months. He claims the current administration inherited the timeline to exit the country and continued to echo the debunked claim that it was wither pullout fully or send in more troops. However, but he did say at the end of the day it was Joe Biden who made the final call.
“And ultimately, as we all know, President Biden made clear that he was not willing to continue with an open ended military commitment where more than more than 4500 excuse me, nearly 2,500 American service members had paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he noted. “More than $2 trillion in investment had been made and we had this agreement that in many ways precluded a fuller set of options, an agreement that had been in place for some time.”
Price went on to say there is still a lot of work to do to get persecuted minorities out of Afghanistan and out of reach of the Taliban. Over the weekend, many foreign policy experts, including Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul, reminded Americans that the State Department promised allies to American forces that they would be able to escape along with American forces and diplomats. They lamented those allies are being hunted down, tortured and killed. However, the State Department is hoping their pledge will come into fruition as it claims it is still working with partners in the region to help all Afghans.
“And when we say all of the Afghan people, we mean all,” said Price. “We mean Afghanistan’s women, it’s girls, it’s religious minorities, it’s ethnic minorities. The Taliban has made these commitments. The Taliban, of course, has not lived up to these commitments. We have taken every opportunity we have in direct engagement with the Taliban, in working with our partners and allies around the world to aggressively advocate for the rights of women and girls as well as minority groups.”