Biden: If diplomacy fails with Iran, we have other options

Publication Date28 Aug 2021
"We are going to discuss the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon," said Biden. "We're putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we're ready to turn to other options."

The president's remarks come at a time when Iran is refusing to negotiate with the US to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, meant to restrict its uranium enrichment, while Tehran has advanced its development of a nuclear weapon to about two months from breakout.

A diplomatic source said the Americans did not seem optimistic about the chance of returning to the Iran deal.

Bennett thanked Biden for saying Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon, which was something he had hoped to hear coming into the meeting.

"These very days illustrate what the world would look like if a radical Islamic regime acquired a nuclear weapon," Bennett said. "That marriage would be a nuclear nightmare for the entire world. Iran is the world's No. 1 exporter of terror, instability and human rights violations. And as we sit here right now, the Iranians are spinning their centrifuges in Natanz and Fordo. We've got to stop it. And we both agreed."

Bennett said the leaders and their staff will discuss ways to roll back Iran's regional aggression and permanently keep it from breaking out to a nuclear weapon.

Following the meeting, a senior diplomatic source said that Bennett used the analogy of the Cold War when speaking to Biden, where the war was not won in a major battle, but by the US taking advantage in various ways of the weaknesses of a rotting regime that didn't have the support of its population. Bennett's plan to counter Iran includes "creative ideas," the source said.

Israel wants to cooperate with the US, but is "not waiting. It's already happening," the diplomatic source said of Bennett's plan.

The prime minister also pointed out to the president, according to the source, that six years have passed since the Iran nuclear deal was reached, and that the main advantage it had of buying Israel and world powers time before Iran could advance uranium enrichment is mostly gone.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later clarified for reporters that when it came to Iran, "our first preference and our priority and our focus is on the diplomatic path and pursuing the diplomatic path forward."

During the meeting, Biden expressed his "unwavering, unwavering commitment that we have in the United States to Israel's security. And I fully...

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