Biden and Israel Sign Joint Pledge to Prevent Nuclear Iran

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge to prevent Iran from going nuclear. The agreement closes the ranks after long disputes between allied nations over global diplomacy with Iran. 

Biden is currently on his first trip to the Middle East as president. In Jerusalem, he told Israeli television news that he was open to “last resort” use of force against Iran. This appears to be an accommodation for Israel, which has been calling on world powers to present a “credible military threat.” 

Biden said that the only thing worse than the Iran that exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons. 

Biden opened his first visit to the Middle East by offering anxious Israeli leaders strong reassurances of his determination to stop Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities. The agreement signed today, part of a “Jerusalem Declaration,” crowns Biden’s first trip to Israel as president. 

The U.S.-Israeli commitment may also provide Biden a boost when he travels on to Saudi Arabia tomorrow. Riyadh has its own concerns over Iran. Biden hopes to parlay the Saudi and Iran worries over Iran into a rapprochement under American auspices. 

Tehran has not yet commented on the planned declaration being made in Jerusalem.

U.S. officials said that the joint declaration is a pledge and a commitment to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that the United States is prepared to use “all elements of our national power” to ensure that. 

In 2015, Iran signed an international deal that capped nuclear projects with bomb-making potential. But in 2018, then-president Donald Trump ripped the deal up, quitting the pact, saying it was insufficient. 

Since then, Iran has ramped up nuclear activities. Its advancements have put a ticking clock on world powers’ bid to return to an Iran nuclear deal. 

Israel has said it would support a new deal that includes tougher provisions. But Iran has said further curbs are not in the cards. 

Iran supports proxy wars in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, with funding and with military forces as well as political support. Some Israeli, as well as Gulf Arab officials, believe the sanctions relief in the Iran Nuclear Deal would provide Iran with far more money to support these wars. 

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy. Israel says the Iran nuclear program calls for Israel’s destruction. 

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