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Obama is 'not bluffing' on a nuclear Iran, Biden says

  • Article by: CHristi Parsons and michael a. memoli
  • Tribune Washington Bureau
  • March 4, 2013 - 7:24 PM

– President Obama is “not bluffing” when he vows that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday in a speech that put a heavy emphasis on winning consensus on that view from the rest of the world.

Speaking to supporters of Israel, Biden reiterated that “all options, including military force” are on the table as the United States works to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

“We are not looking for war,” Biden told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

It is “critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power ... to avoid any confrontation,” he said. If it comes to that, he said, “it’s important that the rest of the world is with us.”

Biden didn’t change the stated policy of the United States, or even the administration’s talking points, in his morning remarks.

But his comments come as Obama plans a trip to Israel this month meant to reaffirm his commitment to Israel and, tacitly, to reassure the Israeli people and their leaders in the wake of his own re-election and that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In his comments, Biden hit the key policy points his audience wanted to hear, restating U.S. commitment to the Iron Dome defense program and opposition to unilateral efforts by the Palestinian Authority to gain affirmation for statehood status.

He called on the world to treat Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization, period,” condemned efforts to de-legitimize Israel and backed the country’s right to impose a trade blockade.

Obama, who will be in Israel just before Passover, plans meetings both in Jerusalem and in Ramallah. He is expected to give one major address to the region.

Obama is also likely to meet with young Israelis who are eager to hear directly from him in the wake of tense election-year relations between Obama and Netanyahu.

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