Biden: Nuclear Iran Poses an Existential Threat to Israel

U.S. Vice President tells J Street conference that Iran has a choice between suffering tougher sanctions or negotiate.

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Elad Benari,

US Vice President Joe Biden
US Vice President Joe Biden
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A nuclear Iran would pose a threat to Israel, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday.

"A nuclear armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel, an unacceptable danger to world peace and security, including the likely bid of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, making everyone less secure," Biden said during a speech at the annual conference organized by the left-wing American group J Street.

He added that U.S.-led sanctions against Iran have been the most effective sanctions against ever, and said that Iran has a choice: suffer deepening economic sanctions or negotiate its way back into the global community and economy.

"We don't know if Iran is willing to do what is necessary to get there, but we, along with the Security Council and Germany (P5+1) are willing to find out," Biden said.

Biden also spoke about the attempts at negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, saying that there are now "serious efforts underway" to solve some of the most important challenges that exist.

"I believe Israel's security requires a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians," he said.

“The Palestinian-Israeli issue involves the least ideological and least sectarian Arabs in the Middle East,” Biden noted, adding that peace would bring stability in the region.

Biden’s remarks at the conference came just after he met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House, a meeting which took place shortly after Netanyahu met U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama told Netanyahu that Washington would not ease up on its sanctions against Iran unless and until Tehran halted its nuclear arms program.

Netanyahu presented Obama with the key points he intends to make in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Among other things, Netanyahu is expected to say that he does not rule out diplomatic dialogue with new Iranian President, provided that the talks will establish real results.

Obama said that it was clear that, despite President Rouhani's “charm offensive,” the U.S. would not take Iran at its word, and expected to see actions - specifically a reduction in the level of uranium enrichment as demanded by the international community - that can be verified.

Netanyahu told Obama that Iran’s recent conciliatory remarks have to be matched by “transparent, verifiable, meaningful actions.