Vice President Joe Biden stressed diplomacy with Iran before the 2013 AIPAC Policy Conference while defending President Obama’s resolve in confronting Iran’s nuclear program.
Referring to reported difficulties in the working relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden countered that all U.S. Presidents have had points of divergence with Israel’s leaders. “We’ve always disagreed on tactics,” Biden said. “But we’ve always agreed on the strategic imperative that Israel be able to defend itself.”
Turning to Iran’s nuclear program, Biden sought to make clear to the gathering President Obama’s willingness to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “Big nations can’t bluff [about using force]. And Presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff. President Barack Obama is not bluffing,” Biden confirmed. “We’re not looking for war,” Biden continued, before repeating an oft-delivered line, telling the crowd that “all options, including military force” remain on the table.
As Biden explained to the audience, however, despite that resolve, the United States is ready and willing to negotiate peacefully. “Our strong preference, the world’s preference is for a diplomatic solution,” Biden said. He also echoed recent comments from Secretary of State John Kerry that the window for making a deal with Iran is closing, but there is still time and space to find a solution. Biden emphasized that diplomacy had to be fully exhausted before any military option could be exercised:
BIDEN: And I want to make clear to you something. God forbid, if the need to act occurs it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power, we did everything that reasonably could have be expected to avoid any confrontation. That matters. Because, God forbid, if we have to act, its important that the rest of the world is with us. We have a united international community.
Watch Biden’s comments on diplomacy here:
As part of the bid to find a diplomatic solution, a coalition of international powers — including Russia and China — concluded a round of positive talks with Iran last week, with technical meetings set to take place in March. Multiple current and former Israeli and U.S. officials have warned of the fallout of a premature attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, including a rupturing of the international community’s unity on the Iranian nuclear issue.