Blinken: We could have extended the Iran arms embargo from inside the deal

Asked what Biden would do if he was elected as president, Blinken said that he would “seek to build on the nuclear deal and to make it longer and stronger if Iran returns to strict compliance.”

US deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken attends an interview with Reuters in Paris, March 4, 2016. (photo credit: CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS)
US deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken attends an interview with Reuters in Paris, March 4, 2016.
(photo credit: CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – “As best I know today, not a single ally is on board with an indefinite extension” of the arms embargo on Iran, said Antony Blinken, who serves as Joe Biden’s top foreign policy adviser. Blinken, who addressed the virtually-held Aspen Security Forum, defended the Obama administration’s record on the 2015 nuclear deal.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the US will present a resolution to extend the embargo, which is set to expire on October 18. The Security Council will vote on the matter next week, he told reporters in a briefing. “The proposal we put forward is eminently reasonable. One way or another we will do the right thing. We will ensure that the arms embargo is extended,” Pompeo added.
Blinken said in his remarks at the Aspen Security Forum that the embargo was a key element in the deal. “The administration may complain about the sunset of the conventional arms embargo, but that embargo was negotiated and put in place by the Obama administration through the hard work of disciplined and competent diplomacy,” said Blinken. “And of course we insisted in the JCPOA itself on powerful sanction snapback provisions. There’s only one catch: snapback needs to be invoked by a participant to the nuclear agreement. And in pulling out of the Iran deal, the administration literally headlined its press release, ‘ending US participation in the JCPOA.’ So, they will make whatever arguments want to make, but legally it seems to be on pretty shaky ground in being able to use the very snapback provisions that we negotiated.
“There’s a lot of irony in what I’m hearing from the administration, blaming the Obama-Biden administration for the sunset of the conventional arms restrictions, because much of that was actually put in place by our administration in the first place,” he continued. “And we could have probably extended those prohibitions from inside the deal through a unified front with our allies.”
Asked what Biden would do if he was elected as president, Blinken said that he would “seek to build on the nuclear deal and to make it longer and stronger if Iran returns to strict compliance.”
“And then,” he continued, “we would be in a position to use our renewed commitment to diplomacy, to work with our allies, to strengthen and lengthen it, but also we’d be in a much better position to effectively push back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities, because we would once again, be united with our partners instead of isolated from them.”
Blinken also addressed the US-Israeli relationship, and said that Biden has “an ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. “Israel has never been until now – unfortunately – a partisan political issue,” he said. “And I think it’s very bad for the United States and for Israel that someone try to turn it into one. But the vice president equally believes that the best way, maybe the only way to guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, and to make sure the Palestinians have a state which they’re entitled to, is through a two=state solution, as distant as that may appear.”


Tags Iran Deal