A reporter pushed White House press secretary Jen Psaki to explain why the U.S. is continuing to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Iran nuclear deal even as President Joe Biden calls him a “war criminal.”
The exchange came during Psaki’s press briefing Thursday at the White House. Both Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken have declared Putin a “war criminal” for his targeting of civilians in Ukraine. (RELATED: Reporter Suggests Biden Is Pushing Ukrainians To ‘Commit Suicide’ To Psaki’s Face)
“The president called Putin a war criminal yesterday; the Secretary of State just said that that was also his view today,” a reporter began. “Given all of that, why are we still having Putin’s Russia broker the Iran nuclear deal talks?”
“I would say that it’s not in our interest for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and Russia is a member of the P5+1,” Psaki responded. “So that is the pursuit of a deal that is in our national security interests.”
The reporter then pressed Psaki on why the U.S. wouldn’t stop working with Putin.
“Again, I think how the president and any of the P5+1 partners or Europeans or others look at this is, if we can achieve a diplomatic solution where we prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon despite the efforts by former President Trump to pull us out of the deal, allowing Iran to move closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. That would be good for our national security and good for global security around the world.”
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to condemn Putin as a war criminal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video address Wednesday to Congress, imploring the U.S. and NATO to impose a no-fly zone over all or some of Ukraine. The Biden administration has ruled out this move, however, stating that any direct conflict between Russian and U.S. or NATO forces would lead to a third world war.
Biden will travel to Europe next week for an “extraordinary” NATO summit to further address Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, Psaki did not rule out the possibility of Biden meeting with Zelenskyy directly during the trip.