Biden tells Israel, U.S. has options if Iran diplomacy fails
Bennett was on a mission to lobby the American president into a new confrontational approach towards Iran.
But the meeting was overshadowed by Thursday’s attack outside Kabul airport that killed at least 180 people and left Bennet waiting 24 hours to meet the American President.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, both leaders finally touched on Iran.
Biden said they discussed “our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon.”
“We're putting diplomacy first and we'll see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we're ready to turn to other options,” Biden added, without offering specifics.
Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Netanyahu's 12-year run as Prime Minister in June, was expected to press Biden in private to harden his approach to Iran and back out of negotiations aimed at reviving an international nuclear deal with Tehran that Trump abandoned.
"I was happy to hear your clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon," Bennett told Biden. "You emphasized that you'll try the diplomatic route but there are other options if that doesn't work out" he added, also stopping short of identifying the possibilities.
Bennett has sought to move on from Netanyahu’s combative public style (which was widely viewed as a failure) and instead manage disagreements behind closed doors between Washington and its closest West Asian ally.
But he has been just as adamant as Netanyahu in pledging over the past decades to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
Iran has repeatedly denied it is seeking nuclear arms, saying it strongly opposes the possession of any weapon of mass destruction.
This is while all global intelligence agencies say Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful in nature. The country has been under strict inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog, the international atomic energy agency.
This is while Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons and does not allow any IAEA monitors to inspect its top-secret Dimona nuclear arms facility.
Alluding to Israel's threats of military action and the billions of dollars in U.S. military aid it receives, Bennett said: "It's our responsibility to take care of our fate, but we do thank you for the tools … you’ve been giving us."
Experts say Israel is incapable of engaging in a military conflict with Iran alone and needs the United States to wage a military intervention on its behalf.
However, analysts say Washington itself acknowledges Iran is no Libya or Iraq and is desperate to leave West Asia following two disastrous wars.
The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have been costly, deadly, and deeply unpopular among the American public. The U.S. has wasted trillions of dollars in U.S. taxpayers’ money.
In a letter to the UN Security Council, the Islamic Republic’s mission to the UN said Israel's repeated war threats constitute a violation of international rights.
In any case, Iran says any action that threatens it territorial integrity will be met with a devastating response against the regime and the military interests of its staunchest ally the United States.
Source: Tehran Times