LONDON: The US is prepared to turn to alternative avenues if diplomacy fails to solve the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, President Joe Biden said.
Speaking after meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Washington, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, and said the US “is ready to turn to other options” if the diplomatic impasse cannot be overcome.
The US withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2018, under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who called the deal “defective.”
Talks to resurrect the JCPOA have been ongoing in Vienna, with Biden saying he is prepared to lift sanctions on Tehran if it stops breaching its commitments to the deal.
“We’re putting diplomacy first and see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options,” Biden told reporters after the 50-minute meeting.
Tehran, according to Tel Aviv, is now enriching uranium at close to weapons-grade level, with the Israeli Defense Ministry saying Iran is just two months away from acquiring enough nuclear material to build a bomb.
Bennett praised Biden’s stance, saying: “I was happy to hear your clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that you emphasize that you will try the diplomatic route, but there’s other options if that doesn’t work out.”
Bennett, whose predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu was frequently at odds with former US President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, added that he looks forward to working with Biden “now and many years ahead.”