(CNSNews.com) – President Biden and Israeli leaders will on Thursday release a joint declaration which among other things will commit their two countries to “use all elements of national power” to ensure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons, according to Israeli officials.
Israeli media outlets briefed ahead of the release said that the document, which reportedly will be entitled “The Jerusalem Declaration on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership,” will reiterate an unbreakable U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring it retains a qualitative military edge in the region.
The Jerusalem Post quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying the proclamation would be “a living testimony to the unique quality, depth and scope of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Biden was to hold talks with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem on the first full day of a four-day visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia during which countering Iranian threats will be a key focus.
Israeli leaders and the Biden administration do not see eye-to-eye on the latter’s attempts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated during the Obama-Biden administration and repudiated by President Trump in 2018.
But the declaration will underline that both governments share the end goal of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 television recorded before Biden left Washington but aired after his arrival on Wednesday, he again defended his attempts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying that “the only thing more dangerous than the Iran that exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons.”
Biden said it was a “giant mistake” for Trump to have withdrawn from the deal, adding that the regime was “closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before.”
(Iran began walking away from its JCPOA commitments on uranium enrichment and related activities after Trump withdrew, although analysts say the most significant breaches began after the 2020 presidential election.)
The Channel 12 interviewer, Yonit Levy, asked Biden if he would use force against Iran if necessary to ensure that the regime does not acquire nuclear weapons.
“If that was the last resort, yes,” he replied.
Asked if he would work with Israel on that, Biden said, “I’m not going to speculate on that. But Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon.”
Numerous rounds of talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the JCPOA have not met with success, and two days of E.U.-mediated negotiations in Qatar late last month again ended with no progress reported.
“We’ve laid out on the table – we’ve made the deal, we’ve offered it,” Biden told Levy. “And it’s up to Iran now.”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters on Wednesday that Tehran remains committed to talks to revive the agreement and that plans for more talks would be announced soon.
In both Israel and Saudi Arabia Biden will be meeting with leaders wary of security threats posed by Iran, and enhancing regional coordination to counter Iranian missile and drone strikes is on the agenda.
Before leaving Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv after his arrival on Wednesday, Biden viewed Israel air defense technology including the Arrow long-range and Iron Dome short-range missile defense systems and a new laser-based system known as Iron Beam.
Also expected during the trip are announcements of small, early steps towards normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, reportedly in the form of Saudi concessions on overflight rights for Israeli commercial aircraft.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Wednesday Biden’s trip to the region would not bring greater security for Israel, Iran’s number one foe.
“If the shuttling trips by American officials to the regional countries are meant to reinforce the Zionist regime’s position and normalize the regime’s relations with some countries, their efforts will not create security for the Zionists in any way,” he said during a cabinet meeting.
The quest for Arab-Israeli normalization received a major boost during the Trump administration when Israel normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco over the course of just four months.
Israel: Iran ‘First and Foremost’ on the Agenda For Biden Visit (Jul. 11, 2022)
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