The Biden administration has had a year to restore the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. But as talks to revive the agreement in Vienna are reaching a critical stage, the White House is focusing its messaging on blaming the situation on President Trump, Axios reported Wednesday.
Sources told Axios that the Biden administration expects a decision on the JCPOA to be made in the coming weeks. Either the US and Iran will reach a deal to revive the JCPOA, or the talks will fail, and the US will ramp up the pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Ahead of the decision, the White House plans to emphasize that either way, Trump is to blame for leaving the JCPOA in 2018. "They are going to focus the fire on Trump," one source said.
The strategy was previewed on Tuesday during a press conference with State Department spokesman Ned Price. “It’s worth spending just a moment on how we got here,” Price said when asked about the Vienna talks.
"It is deeply unfortunate that because of an ill-considered or perhaps unconsidered decision by the previous administration that this administration came into office without these stringent verification and monitoring protocols that were in place," he added.
While the Biden administration is blaming Trump, at this point, his policies still haven’t been reversed. The Trump administration imposed an enormous number of sanctions on Iran, known as the "maximum pressure campaign." Almost a year into President Biden’s term, virtually all of those sanctions remain in place, and new ones have been imposed.
The eighth round of the Vienna talks is ongoing. Both sides have said the talks are focused on sanctions relief, and Iran is also seeking guarantees that the US won’t leave the deal again.
During earlier negotiations with the previous Iranian government, Biden wasted an opportunity to salvage the JCPOA by refusing to promise that he would stay in the deal during his term in office.