JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – In his first on-the-record interview with a Christian media outlet since being confirmed to his post as Ambassador to Israel exactly one year ago this month, Tom Nides told me the administration still wants a nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime.
I pressed Ambassador Nides to assure millions of Evangelicals, Jews, and others who love Israel and are worried about the Biden approach that the draft 2.0-version of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was “100% off the table.”
But Nides – whom I described in a May profile on ALL ISRAEL NEWS as “warm, gregarious, and a straightshooter” – could not and would not do that.
Rather, Nides made clear that a new nuclear deal with Iran is “not off the table.”
“Nothing’s ever off the table,” he said.
Nides vowed that U.S. President Joe Biden “is not going to stand by and let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.”
What’s more, he argued that Biden’s diplomatic strategy is the best way to stop Iran from building a nuclear arsenal.
[To watch the latest episode of THE ROSENBERG REPORT on TBN – including three exclusive interviews with Amb. Nides; long-time Israeli Cabinet Minister and Netanyahu confidante Tzachi Hanegbi, and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey), all discussing the Iran threat from three very different angles – please click here.]
That said, Nides stressed that negotiations between the Iranian regime, the U.S., and other world powers are presently at a stalemate.
Biden has been “very clear” that Tehran must meet certain conditions to revive the JCPOA deal of 2015 that was designed by the Obama-Biden administration, he noted.
“Not only are they [conditions] not being met, but things have got even worse,” Nides said.
“So, my view today, we are nowhere close to having a deal with Iran.”
“I am not holding my breath for any negotiation with the Iranians in this current form,” Nides said.
I countered that I am “holding my breath.”
So are many Evangelicals.
We want Biden to abandon an approach that would not truly block Iran from building nuclear weapons that could destroy the U.S., Israel, and/or our Arab allies, but would, in fact, remove economic sanctions on Iran that will flow upwards of $1 trillion into Tehran’s coffers by 2030.
I also noted that it’s not just Evangelicals who oppose this deal.
A growing number of Democrats – including Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Dennis Ross, a former senior advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden – oppose Biden’s current strategy vis-à-vis Iran.
Because, they insist, it won’t actually prevent Tehran from building The Bomb but will enrich the terror masters in Tehran.
“There’s never a perfect deal, per se,” Nides replied, defending the White House strategy.
“There’s no question that, in any kind of ‘deal,’ that the Iranians would get money,” Nides admitted. “And we certainly understand the anxiety that people have.”
He called the concerns of Evangelicals and others regarding the Biden approach towards Iran “legitimate.”
However, Nides explained that Biden would much rather see a negotiated settlement to the threat than have to go to war with Iran.
Nides insisted that Evangelicals should want a deal rather than war, as well.
That’s why when it comes to diplomacy, “all options are on the table,” he said.
I agreed with Nides that Evangelicals would rather see diplomacy work than another war in the Middle East.
But we’re worried that Biden’s deal will make things much worse, not better.
Last week – in a sneak preview of my TBN interview – I reported on ALL ISRAEL NEWS that both Biden and Nides had made phone calls to Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory and to pledge to work closely with him and his government on Iran and other matters.
Indeed, my full interview with Amb. Nides lasts nearly 30 minutes and covered a wide range of critical issues, and I encourage you to watch it in full.
Nides was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Nov. 3, 2021.
Before that, he served as the managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley.
Between 2010 and 2013, he was the U.S. State Department’s deputy secretary of state for management and resources.
Nides was born in Minnesota to a Jewish family, whom he describes as “cultural Jews.”
“Went to temple a couple of times a year. We lit the candles on Friday night. I grew up being a Jew,” Nides said, noting he grew up with an emphasis on community and “giving back.”
Click below to watch the full interview I did with Amb. Nides.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.