President Biden on Iran

July 14, 2022
A photo of a sunset in Israel.

There will be no nuclear Iran. This is not only a threat to Israel, but to the world …

United States President Joe Biden on his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Why It Matters: During the second day of President Biden's trip to the Middle East, President Biden and Prime Minister Lapid met in Jerusalem and agreed the two countries will not allow Iran — one of four U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism — to acquire a nuclear weapon. However, the two men disagreed in terms of how, with Pres. Biden advocating for diplomacy, and Prime Minister Lapid saying diplomacy is not the answer.

  • Prime Minister Lapid said: "Those of us who were fortunate enough to be born free people sometimes do not understand the intensity of the hatred behind the attack on democracy … What scares them [the Iranian government, terrorist organizations] the most is that their citizens, their people can see us, can see our quality of life — the dynamism and creativity of our economy, the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Our way of life is what threatens them. It’s what makes the Iranian regime develop … its nuclear program. They want to destroy the only Jewish state in the world … we will never let that happen.
  • Words will not stop them, Mr. President. 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.
  • … If we are strong, if we are determined, if the world understands that we will not hesitate to defend ourselves and our values, peace can come."
  • President Biden said: "This is a vital security interest to both Israel and the United States and, I would add, for the rest of the world as well. I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome."
  • While Pres. Biden was in Israel, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the U.S. and "its regional allies" were inciting instability in the region, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. Raisa said: "Any mistake by the Americans and their allies in the region and the world will be met with a harsh and regrettable response."
  • Backstory: There was also discussion of the now-inoperative nuclear deal, which would work toward preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons; Pres. Biden said the U.S. has told the Iranian government the steps for re-joining the deal, and is still waiting for a response. "When that will come, I'm not certain. But we're not going to wait forever," Biden said.

Big Picture: After the two leaders met, they released a joint statement affirming the two countries' commitment to cooperation with each other and emphasizing the importance of not allowing Iran to attain a nuclear weapon. The statement shared that the U.S. is "prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome."

On Friday, Pres. Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia, another one of Iran's "regional rivals." The Associated Press reports: "The joint declaration could hold important symbolic importance for Biden’s upcoming meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia as he seeks to strengthen a regionwide alliance against Iran."

The Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration (The White House)

Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid of the State of Israel (The White House)

More on why Pres. Biden is in the Middle East (SmartHER News)

Biden, Lapid agree to stop Iran nuke program, differ on how (Associated Press)

What Is the Iran Nuclear Deal? (Council on Foreign Relations)

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Recent News on Iran: Russian President to visit Iran next week (SmartHER News)

Biden to met Saudi king, prince MBS after human rights rift (Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,

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