Biden to nominate Blinken as secretary of state, signaling new US policy on Iran

Blinken was heavily involved in shaping the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and harshly criticized Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement in 2018.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Obama administration Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken as his secretary of state, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told media outlets on Sunday that Biden would begin making his cabinet announcements on Tuesday.

Blinken, a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, served as Biden’s foreign policy adviser during his 2020 presidential campaign and as Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017.

He was heavily involved in shaping the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and harshly criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the agreement in 2018.

In April 2020, during a virtual discussion hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Blinken censured Trump for trying to strengthen the arms embargo on Iran, as the deal was set to expire.

“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,” he said.

In July 2020, during a forum at the Hudson Institute, Blinken called for a departure from Trump’s “America First” foreign policy in favor of closer U.S. cooperation with other countries.

“Simply put, the big problems that we face as a country and as a planet, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s the spread of bad weapons – to state the obvious, none of these have unilateral solutions,” he said.

“Even a country as powerful as the United States can’t handle them alone.”

James Melville, an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Estonia, told CNN that Blinken was a solid choice for the role.

“Tony was a terrific deputy secretary,” he said.

“He is brilliant and kind and would be a wonderful and very effective leader of what will have to be one of the most monumental tasks in diplomacy, cleaning up the stables after the worst president and secretary of state we have ever had.”