US, Israel sign joint anti-Iran nuclear declaration
United States President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid have reiterated their anti-Iran positions in a joint declaration committing to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The two leaders signed the statement earlier after holding a one-on-one meeting on Thursday morning in West Jerusalem on the second day of Biden’s four-day Middle East tour, followed by a virtual summit with the leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates.
The statement says that the US will use “all elements of national power” available to it to deny Iran the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
The joint declaration also includes a pledge by Washington to continue US military aid to Israel.
A record 10-year $38bn aid package was signed in 2016 under the administration of former US President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president.
Speaking at a news conference following the signing, both Biden and Lapid spoke of their support for the US-Israeli relationship, and the perceived threat from Iran.
“The only way to stop a nuclear Iran is if Iran knows the free world will use force,” Lapid said.
Biden, meanwhile, said that he believed diplomacy was the best way to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons but reiterated what he said was a “guarantee” to provide security for Israel.
However, the declaration is relatively symbolic and more of a reaffirmation of the US and Israel’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Talks between Iran and Western powers to restore a 2015 nuclear deal have not progressed for months, with Tehran and Washington blaming each other for the stalemate.
After the meeting between Biden and Lapid concluded, the Israeli prime minister told reporters that the two had “discussed the Iranian threat”.