Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday he expects new U.N. sanctions on Iran by late April or early May and dismissed the notion that Israel might attack the Islamic Republic before first allowing sanctions to take their course.
Biden issued the latest U.S. warning to Iran, which is locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program, in an appearance on ABC television’s “The View” talk show.
“Everyone from the Israeli prime minister straight through to the British prime minister to the president of Russia, everyone agrees the next step we should take is the U.N. sanction route,” Biden said.
“I believe you will see a sanction regime coming out by the end of this month, beginning of next month,” he said.
Asked whether Washington was concerned that Israel might attack its arch-foe Iran without U.S. consultation, Biden said, “They’re not going to do that.”
He said Israel had agreed to await the outcome of tightened sanctions against Iran, an effort being led by President Barack Obama.
“They’ve agreed the next step is the step we — the president of the United States — have initiated in conjunction with European powers, the NATO powers,” he said.
Israel, the only assumed nuclear weapons power in the Middle East, has made clear it is keeping open the military option against Iran even as Washington proceeds on the dual diplomatic and sanctions track.
Biden reiterated the administration’s view that China, one of five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council, would support new sanctions on Iran. Beijing has softened its resistance to new measures but has been reluctant to accept punitive steps as severe as Washington wants.
“We’re going to continue to keep the pressure on Iran,” Biden said.
The West accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says it only wants peaceful civilian nuclear power. Washington Post
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