John Ratcliffe slams Biden's handling of Iran as heading to 'a terrible place'

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John Ratcliffe slams Biden’s handling of Iran

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says he fears President Biden will ‘allow Iran to become the tenth member of the Nuclear Club of nations,’ which ‘presidents are going to have to deal with’ for years to come.

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe slammed President Biden’s handling of Iran, warning that the situation is heading to a “terrible place.” 

In an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Ratcliffe said he fears Biden will “allow Iran to become the tenth member of the ‘Nuclear Club’ of nations, which would be a legacy that presidents are going to have to deal with for a long, long time after Joe Biden is gone.” 

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Earlier this month White House press secretary Jen Psaki shifted blame for the “aggressive actions” being taken by Iran, claiming the country is “rapidly accelerating” due to former President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Asked by a reporter at a briefing how the Biden administration is working through discussions with Iran to reestablish the Iranian nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Psaki said the talks are “ongoing.”

“What we’re looking at, and what we’d like to remind the public of, is why we are at this point now,” Psaki said. “Most importantly, none of the things we’re looking at now – Iran’s increased capability and capacity, their aggressive actions that they have taken through proxy wars around the world – would be happening if the former president had not recklessly pulled out of the nuclear deal with no thought as to what might come next.”

In 2018, Trump announced he would be withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, saying at the time that the agreement was “defective at its core.”

President Biden made it a top priority for his administration to bring Iran back to the negotiating table and re-enter the JCPOA, which fell apart after the Trump administration removed the U.S. from the agreement.

While European allies warned the move could weaken the nuclear agreement, the Trump administration maintained its withdrawal did not void Iran’s part of the bargain. 

But by the end of Trump’s time in office, Iran began blocking access to international inspections of its nuclear facilities and continued developing its nuclear capabilities. 

Under the 2015 nuclear deal struck by the United States during the Obama administration, sanctions against Tehran were lifted in exchange for Iran’s cooperation in restricting its nuclear program.

“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction, that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful, nuclear energy program,” Trump said in 2018. “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he discussed Iran with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, warning there was only a brief window to bring talks to save the Iran nuclear deal to a successful conclusion, Reuters reported. 

Blinken reportedly urged Russia to use the influence the region has and its relationship with Iran to impress upon Tehran a sense of urgency.

Ratcliffe told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that the Trump administration “handed off a year ago peace in the Middle East on the heels of the Abraham Accords in part because Iran was poorer, weaker and less influential than they’ve been in a long, long time.” 

“They were literally on the verge of bankruptcy,” he continued. “We had prosecuted their terrorist leaders to final justice like Qasem Soleimani and now you look at what’s happening. In one short year, how the tables have turned.”

He then argued that “the Biden Administration has literally begged Iran back to the negotiating table to try and rehabilitate the failed Iranian nuclear deal, and we’re not even allowed to negotiate on our behalf.” 

“Our two biggest adversaries, China and Russia, are negotiating with Iran and you don’t need to take my word for how badly things are going,” Ratcliffe went on to say. 

Last month, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan took an ominous tone when speaking about efforts to bring Iran back in line with a 2015 nuclear agreement saying, “It’s not going well.”

“We do not yet have a pathway back into the JCPOA,” he said.

Sullivan said while there has been “some progress,” it did not appear hopeful that a concrete resolution would be found following months of indirect talks with Tehran.

“Since we walked away from a deal that had fundamentally put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program, they have raced that program forward,” Sullivan said last month speaking from an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ratcliffe said “lifting sanctions on the central bank, on the National Iranian Oil Company, on the IRGC the Iranian Revolutionary guard” was not helping with negotiations. 

“I mean, it’s bad enough to negotiate with terrorists. Essentially Joe Biden’s giving them a blank check and I think unfortunately where this is headed is, the Iranians are playing us,” Ratcliffe warned. 

He then said that “our biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is saying ‘Iran is playing you. They’re at breakout trying to finish getting to a nuclear weapon, and you need to go back to the Trump maximum pressure campaign,’ but I don’t think we’re going to do that in this administration.”

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, Kyle Morris and Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report. 

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