Intel: Key Biden adviser slams 'sheer hypocrisy' of Trump gambit to extend Iran arms embargo

al-monitor Democratic US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a primary night speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 10, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.
Bryant Harris

Bryant Harris

@brykharris_ALM

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2020 US election

Apr 28, 2020

The Joe Biden campaign’s chief foreign policy adviser slammed the Donald Trump administration for relying on a mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal to reinstate multilateral sanctions on Iran should the United Nations fail to extend an arms embargo on Tehran, which is set to expire in October.

“It’s hard not to almost admire the sheer hypocrisy of the action that the administration is trying to take in seeking to, in effect, force countries at the Security Council to find a way to extend the arms embargo on Iran,” said Tony Blinken, the campaign’s chief foreign policy adviser, on a virtual panel today hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

Why it matters: Blinken, who helped lead the Iran deal negotiations under President Barack Obama, noted that the United States managed to extend the UN arms embargo as part of the accord, which Trump withdrew from in 2018. Nonetheless, the Trump administration is still threatening to use a mechanism that allows the deal’s signatories to force a snapback of multilateral Iran sanctions at the United Nations unless Europe, Russia and China agree to extend the arms embargo.  

“If you have a veto on the Security Council, this is what we designed into the Iran nuclear agreement, you can in effect unilaterally get that [snapback sanctions] done,” said Blinken. “They’re trying to use this provision in the [nuclear deal] to require the extension of the arms embargo. The only problem is we are no longer participating in the agreement.”

It remains unclear whether the United States can force a snapback of multilateral Iran sanctions given its stated withdrawal from the accord.

What’s next: Blinken also laid out Biden’s vision for US-Israel relations. He stressed the campaign’s opposition to any Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley as laid out in the Trump peace plan — a move that could come as soon as July. However, Blinken also reiterated that Biden would not seek to restrict the annual $3.8 billion in US military aid to Israel and noted that he would keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem following Trump’s 2017 decision to relocate it from Tel Aviv.  

Know more: Learn more about Blinken as well as Biden’s other foreign policy advisers in Bryant Harris’ profile outlining their views and records.  

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