Biden to Bennett: US prefers diplomacy with Iran, but we’ll ensure they never get the bomb

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden in the White House on August 27, 2021. (GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with US President Joe Biden in the White House on August 27, 2021. (GPO)

Speaking after their one-on-one meeting, US President Joe Biden tells Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that he prefers the diplomatic route to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but if that fails, the US is willing to consider “other options” to ensure Iran “never” gets the bomb.

With the press present, Biden begins with remarks regarding Afghanistan: “Our hearts go out to all those we’ve lost… The mission… has come with a significant loss of American personnel,” he says. “We will complete the mission.”

Turning to Bennett, Biden says: “It’s great to have the prime minister here. We’ve become close friends…

“He heads and leads the most diverse government in Israeli history,” Biden notes.

“We’ve got a big agenda today — starting with the COVID… [discussing] both our successful vaccination programs… We’re considering advice you’ve given that we should start earlier [with booster shots].”

Moving to regional matters, Biden says, “We’re also going to discuss.. the unwavering commitment that we have in the United States to Israel’s security.”

Adds Biden: “I fully, fully, fully support replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome system.”

On Iran, Biden says: “We’re also going to discuss the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. But we’re putting diplomacy first and we’ll see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”

Biden says the US will support Israel’s development of deeper ties with its Arab and Muslim neighbors and the world generally.

“We’re also going to discuss ways to advance peace and security and security for Israelis and Palestinians,” he says.

He also says they’ll “direct our teams” toward getting Israel into the US visa waiver program, “and get that done.”

He thanks Bennett for coming, and says “The US will always be there for Israel. It’s an unshakeable partnership between our two nations.”

He recalls: I’ve known every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, gotten to know them fairly well, and I look forward to establishing a strong personal relationship with you.”

They shake hands.

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