President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid publicly disagreed over the best way to deal with Iran, with the Israeli leader telling Biden that only a “credible military threat” will prevent Iran from going nuclear, and that “words will not stop them.”
While Lapid made it clear that the two saw eye-to-eye in preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, negotiations — such as those undertaken by the Biden administration in an effort to revive the Iran nuclear deal — would not be enough.
“Words will not stop them, Mr. President,” Lapid said at a joint press briefing. “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. The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table.”
“It should not be a bluff, but the real thing,” Lapid continued. “The Iranian regime must know that if they continue to deceive the world, they will pay a heavy price.”
Biden, who spoke after Lapid, said, “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way.”
He stressed the “ironclad commitment from the United States of America to Israel’s security.”
Prior to their comments, the two signed a joint declaration in which the U.S. vowed to use “all elements in its national power” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
“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,” read the Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration.
Biden also reiterated the need to revive the dormant two-state solution for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel must remain an independent, democratic Jewish state,” he said. “The best way to achieve that remains a two-state solution.”
“Two people, both of whom have deep and ancient roots in this land, living side by side in peace and security. Both states fully respecting the equal rights of their citizens. Both people enjoying equal measures of freedom.”
Anything else would be “detrimental to the long-term security of Israel,” said Biden.
The joint strategic declaration signed by the two leaders also includes a U.S. commitment to carry out 2016’s historic $38 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) for military aid, which was signed under the Obama administration.
Biden told Israeli TV on Wednesday that the U.S. was willing to use force against Iran, but only as a “last resort.”