“We’d like to remind the public why we are at this point now,” press secretary Jen Psaki stated on Wednesday, blaming Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018 for Iran’s “increased capability and capacity [and] the aggressive actions they have taken through proxy wars around the world."
“None of the things that we are seeing now with Iran would have happened if the former president didn’t withdraw from the Iran deal,” she went on.
While the strategy isn’t a new one, it does come at a majorly crucial moment, a senior administration official told the Washington Examiner.
“We have communicated repeatedly in the past and will continue to clearly state the facts and set the record straight at this critical moment for diplomacy and important points in history,” the official said in a statement.
The White House has signaled that time is running out for the parties to strike an agreement on the deal, with the threat of snapback sanctions as one possible prospect of deterring Iran from increasing uranium enrichment.
While the White House has not provided a detailed timeline for an end to the talks, diplomats have suggested they may need to change course if there isn't a breakthrough by late January or early February. “Back in December, we were a bit frustrated by the lack of seriousness that negotiators came to the table,” Psaki asserted on Wednesday. “Now we’re back at the table again.”
Psaki’s comments marked the second time this week that administration officials publicly sought to pin Iran’s actions on Trump, with press secretary Ned Price launching a similar attack when answering a question regarding the Vienna negotiations.
“It’s worth spending just a moment on how we got here,” Price told reporters on Tuesday. “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.” Price said the 2015 deal “was working to permanently and verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Trump, he pointed out, promised a deal “that never came close,” and now “Iran has been able to gallop forward with its nuclear promise.”