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March 4, 2013 1:06 pm

Biden at AIPAC: U.S. Commitment is to Prevent Iran From Obtaining a Nuclear Weapon

avatar by Zach Pontz

Joe Biden Speaks at AIPAC's 2013 Policy Conference. Photo: Arsen Ostrovsky

Vice President Joe Biden kicked off the morning session at AIPAC with his  own familiar brand of wit and charisma before tackling the subjects the audience had come to hear about: President Obama’s trip to Israel, Iran, and Israel’s security.

On President Obama’s trip to Israel later this month he remained coy, stating only that he didn’t “want to steal the president’s thunder,” but he assured the crowd that Obama was looking forward to visiting the Jewish state, even saying that he was a bit jealous.  He did, however, provide a teaser saying that the President will roll out new policy in “much greater detail [that] he will discuss later this month when he goes to Israel.”

Biden also added that Obama is “looking forward to having the chance to hear from Israelis, beyond their leaders, and particularly from young Israelis.”

Biden spoke tough on Iran, but still left light for a diplomatic solution . “We’re not looking for war. We’re ready to negotiate peacefully—but all options—including military force—are on the table. Our preference, the world’s preference, is for a diplomatic solution.” He added that President Obama will use force against Iran if necessary. “Big nations can’t bluff. And Presidents of the U.S. do not bluff. President Obama is not bluffing.”

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He added: “It is not only in Israel’s interest that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons it’s in the interests of the United States. It’s simple. In fact it’s in the interest of the entire world. It would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and make the world a whole lot less stable.”

Biden emphasized that the U.S.’s “commitment is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. End of discussion. Not contain. Prevent.” This position appears to differ from that of Prime Minister Netanyahu who has spoken against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons capability.

Biden addressed the immediate security threats Israel faces and also highlighted what he considers the biggest threat to its existence, apart from Iran: the delegitimization of Israel by the international community.

Biden, a longtime senator, said that in the 40 years he had served in the senate and now as vice president “the wholesale, seemingly coordinated effort to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state—that is the single most dangerous, pernicious change in my humble opinion since I’ve been engaged,” with Israel. “To put it bluntly there’s only one nation that has consistently and unequivocally confronted the delegitimization of the state of Israel and that is the United States,” he added.

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