JERUSALEM, July 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge on Thursday to deny Iran nuclear arms, a show of unity by allies long divided over diplomacy with Tehran.
The undertaking, part of a “Jerusalem Declaration” crowning Biden’s first visit to Israel as president, came a day after he told a local TV station that he was open to “last resort” use of force against Iran – an apparent move toward accommodating Israel’s calls for a “credible military threat” by world powers.
“We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Biden told a news conference following the signing of the declaration.
Washington and Israel have separately made veiled statements about possible preemptive war with Iran – which denies seeking nuclear arms – for years. Whether they have the capabilities or will to deliver on this has been subject to debate, however.
Thursday’s statement reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel’s regional military edge and ability “to defend itself by itself”.
“The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome,” the statement added.
Lapid cast this posture as a way of averting open conflict.
“The only way to stop a nuclear Iran is if Iran knows the free world will use force,” he said after the signing ceremony.