Biden’s Misguided Blame Game on Iran

“A fool throws a stone into a well and a hundred wise men can’t get it out,” is a popular Persian expression stressing the lasting consequence of actions taken by unlearned or inexperienced people for the rest of society.

The Biden administration is channeling this maxim—with former President Trump as the “fool” and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as “the stone”—as its go-to response for why things have gone from bad to worse on Iran policy under President Joe Biden’s watch despite his promise of a “smarter” approach.

On the sidelines of a conference in Rome last October, Biden blamed his predecessor for the deadlock in negotiations and Iran’s atomic advances. “We’re continuing to suffer from the very bad decisions President Trump made to pull out of the JCPOA,” he said, using the acronym for the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Less than two months later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken amplified that assessment, saying, “we are where we are because of what I consider to be one of the worst decisions made in American foreign policy in the last decade, and that was getting out of the Iran nuclear agreement.”

While the former president did indeed cease U.S. participation in the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, the Islamic Republic’s enmity with America far predates this decision. Moreover, the main vectors for Iranian escalation since 2018—nuclear, missile, regional, maritime, and cyber—have all been problem areas in the past and are what make it such an outsized threat. They are not new aggressions Iran has chosen to develop or employ, as White House press secretary Jen Psaki incorrectly alleged days ago.

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