US Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the United States is willing to go to war to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, as he defended the deal being hammered out with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.
"As we pursue this deal, we’re also deepening our cooperation with Israel and our other regional partners," he said as he addressed the 30th anniversary dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“There’s nothing simple, minimal or predictable about a war with Iran,” he added, but “if required, it will happen. It is a risk that we may yet have to take should Iran rush to a bomb.”
Biden’s warning may be the most direct public threat made by any US administration of war against Iran in case it pursues a nuclear weapon.
“The finest military in history remains at the ready,” Biden said. “Don’t underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel and he is willing to do what it takes to keep our allies safe.”
“We’re prepared to use the force, just listen to the news tonight about what we’re doing in the straits,” Biden said, referring to the deployment of US Navy warships to accompany US vessels in the Persian Gulf following Iran’s seizure of a cargo ship this week..
JTA reported that Biden also said that President Barack Obama had authorized military preparations in the event of a decision to strike Iran.
“No such policy existed before president Obama uttered it, that all instruments of American power to prevent — not contain — a nuclear armed Iran would be used ,” Biden said. “He made sure that our military had the capacity and the ability to execute the mission if required.”
“Those who say the deal ‘paves Iran’s path to a bomb’, respectfully, they don’t get it,” Biden said, in a veiled reference to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Biden promised that the Obama administration would not sign a deal that ended sanctions against Iran up front, and that did not allow for intrusive measures that would extend Iran’s breakout period to a year. He also pledged that a deal would require Iran to reveal its past nuclear weapons research. Iran’s leaders have rejected such a formula.