President Joe Biden and Israeli acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid publicly differed on the best approach to counter the threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, as the two leaders signed a joint declaration that reiterates the U.S. commitment to strengthen Israel’s ability to defend itself and confront Iran’s “aggression and destabilizing activities.”
“Diplomacy will not stop them. The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force,” Lapid said Thursday in a joint press conference with Biden. “The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table.”
Minutes later, President Biden reiterated the U.S. commitment to ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. But he emphasized, “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.”
Israel was a major critic of the international agreement signed in 2015 between Tehran and a group of world powers that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Biden served as U.S. vice president when the agreement was signed, and it was his predecessor, President Donald Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from the deal in 2018.
The U.S. is trying to get Tehran back to the agreement, including through indirect talks in Vienna.
“There is a deal; it’s on the table. And the onus now is on Iran to take that deal. And they have not proven willing to do that; they have been adding a bunch of requirements outside the boundaries of the deal,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, in an interview with VOA.
Article Source_ VOA News