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Watch: Perino Presses Psaki on Iran Deal, Russia's Involvement

Screenshot via Fox News Sunday

Dana Perino hosted "Fox News Sunday" this past weekend and one of her featured guests was White House Press Secretary – and soon-to-be cable news commentator, reportedly – Jen Psaki. The two touched on a host of issues, including the potential prospect of a looming recession. Roughly three minutes into the clip below, Perino asked Psaki how the Biden administration could continue to rely on Russian diplomats to negotiate a nuclear "deal" giveaway to the Iranians, given the horrific war crimes in Ukraine, for which Vladimir Putin's government is responsible: 

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PERINO: Speaking of Russia, they are at the table as part of the negotiations with the Iran -- Iranians, and working as the Biden administration works on reviving that deal. But President Biden has called Vladimir Putin a war criminal and Russia would stand to gain billions if they were to hold this uranium. Can this continue? Can Russia continued to be at the table for these Iran negotiations?

PSAKI: Well, Dana, here's how we look at it, and you know this from your many past experiences -- diplomacy, foreign affairs, it's complicated. And this is an example of that. We believe, and I think most of the global community believes that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is in our national interest and our global interest. The president is only going to agree to a deal if it is a good deal. But we have dealing with the experiment of President Trump pulling out of the deal, and what we've seen is a lack of visibility. Iran has made great progress in being able to move towards acquiring a nuclear weapon. That's not in our interest. Russia has been a member of the P5+1. They have been an implementing -- played an implementation role. That's what we're talking about and what's been under discussion in these negotiations. We don't know that we will come to an agreement, though. It's ongoing and we're still considering it.

PERINO: The Iranian parliament this morning said that it would need a written guarantee approved by Congress that the USA will not exit the deal if it is revived. Would President Biden agree to that and could that even pass this Congress?

PSAKI: Well, I think if we get to a point where there is a deal that the president feels is in our national security interests, we will, of course, address and determine what needs to go through Congress. But there are -- there are some final components that are being negotiated in the deal. We're not quite there yet. There's more than one, and I'm not going to prejudge those or negotiate from here at this point.
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(1) As we've been saying for weeks, it's farcical to see the United States treat Russia as a pariah state while leaning on Russian diplomats to speak on America's behalf to a fanatically anti-American regime – especially within the context of discussing an accord that would enrich both adversaries. And yes, it would not merely be the "Death to America" Iranians who'd reap a major windfall from the reported agreement: 

Several of Russia's top state-controlled nuclear companies stand to gain billions of dollars in revenue as part of a new nuclear accord with Iran that will waive sanctions on these firms so that they can build up Tehran's nuclear infrastructure, according to a U.S. government-authored document reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. Russia's state-controlled Rosatom energy firm and at least four of its major subsidiaries will receive sanctions waivers under a new accord so that they can complete nuclear projects in Iran worth more than $10 billion, according to the 2019 document, which details all the Russian entities involved in these projects...The document's authenticity was confirmed by a former senior U.S. official

(2) This may all be justifiable if the deal would, in fact, "prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," as Psaki claims. But it would not. The previous, Obama-era deal would not have achieved that, and this new version is said to be even weaker. Remember, the scale and scope of capitulation by the US delegation has apparently been so disturbing that three members of said delegation quit the talks in protest. This is the reality, and the fundamental problem – the agreement blesses Iran's nuclear program and guarantees the regime will be a threshold nuclear-armed power within a few years: 

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Under the original deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), Iran never had to submit to intrusive inspections of sensitive military sites and sought to conceal a nuclear archive that Israel’s Mossad later exfiltrated...Under the prospective deal, Tehran’s so-called breakout time — the amount of time required to produce one atomic bomb’s worth of fissile material — would never exceed seven months and would then drop almost to zero over the duration of the updated JCPOA. While the Obama administration said the original JCPOA increased Iran’s breakout time to 12 months, an independent assessment put the number closer to seven. The reported provisions of the revised JCPOA would place even fewer restraints on Iran’s breakout time than the original deal. Israel reportedly estimates that Tehran’s breakout time under a new deal would initially reach just four to six months...Even if the Islamic Republic complied with every provision of the deal being negotiated in Vienna, it would emerge in less than a decade with an industrial-sized nuclear enrichment program and minimal breakout time. In exchange for these temporary and deficient restrictions on its nuclear program, Iran will receive extensive sanctions relief under a revised JCPOA, including immediate access to tens of billions of dollars of foreign assets now beyond its reach.
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(3) As Perino noted, the Iranians are now demanding that the US Congress "issue a 'political statement' that Washington will stay committed to a possible agreement in Vienna talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal." Tehran learned under the Trump administration that President Obama's maneuver bypassing Congress on the prior deal (a heavy bipartisan majority, roughly 60 percent of Congress, opposed the plan at the time) meant that non-treaty American "guarantees" were totally reversible. Indeed. Once again, a bipartisan majority of Congress appears to be against this updated iteration of the nuclear giveaway. Biden can't ask Congress to enshrine an agreement in a meaningful or binding fashion because he'd lose that vote. Could that dynamic effectively doom the deal, per Iran's latest insistence?


(4) In case you missed it, here is the Biden administration's chief negotiator with Iran – a Kremlin stooge last heard from boasting about how much Iran benefits from the deal, while thanking China for its help – lying his face off about his government's war crimes against Ukrainians: 


I'll leave you with this:

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Biden's position seems to be: Putin is a war criminal (who can or can't remain in power, depending on the statement), but we need the war criminal's diplomats to craft an arrangement on our behalf, in which the US ships hundreds of billions of dollars to the world's top state sponsor of terrorism – in exchange for virtually nothing. And if that accord goes through, Iran will get a nuclear program, from which Moscow will also profit. Smart power is back. The Iranians are now asking Biden (via Russia of course) to relieve some sanctions prior to any deal, as a show of "goodwill." This act would be so weak, it's hard to rule out the Biden team agreeing to it. 

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