Biden makes Putin too toxic to finalize Iran deal – now what?

If only Biden had the courage to speak so frankly about the Iranian regime.

By Pesach Benson, World Israel News

The President of the United States of America’s remarks, phone calls, emails, correspondence and other communications are recorded and archived for posterity.

While certain things he says may be labeled as confidential, the one power no president has is to unsay something.

Especially when it’s a public speech before hundreds of people at Warsaw’s Royal Castle on Saturday night livestreamed to millions of people around the world.

At the end of a half-hour speech about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden ad-libbed nine words about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

This is not a statement that can be unsaid, denied, walked back, spun or otherwise explained away.

The White House communications personnel were left with the unenviable task of either confirming or clarifying that one sentence — which did not appear in advance copies of Biden’s speech.

Sure enough, a subsequent White House statement stressed: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

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It would have been more admirable to say Biden was speaking his mind. After all, the sky didn’t fall when President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

Painting himself into a corner

The Russian war in Ukraine has been an extremely dirty fight. Unable to make gains, the invasion’s second month looks like a stalemate with Ukrainian civilians paying the price for Moscow’s scorched-earth approach.

While the president’s remarks will score points across Europe, he has painted himself into a corner with the Iran nuclear deal.

Bringing the U.S. back into the JCPOA has always been Biden’s signature goal, and until the Russian invasion, was counting on Moscow to help finalize the agreement with Tehran.

Rosatom, Russia’s top state-controlled energy company, is set to capitalize on a $10 billion contract to significantly expand the Bushehr nuclear facility — as part of concessions granted in the soon-to-be-announced nuclear agreement that will guarantee that sanctions on both countries are lifted.

“We, of course, would not sanction Russian participation in nuclear projects that are part of resuming full implementation of the JCPOA,” State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed in early March, referring to the original 2015 nuclear accord.

Although the Biden administration has promised to break relations with Russia, Washington’s continuing reliance on Moscow to finalize the JCPOA raises questions about the credibility of the agreement.

So, it comes down to the toxic Putin midwifing a nuclear agreement that looks worse and worse every day.