In an interview today on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulus,” Vice President Joe Biden said it was up to the Israeli government to decide if Iran constituted an existential threat and that the nation was “entitled” to launch a military strike against the nation if they wanted to.
Biden said the United States would make no effort to dissuade the Israeli government from launching an attack on Iran, but was deliberately evasive on the question of whether the US would provide Israel with access to Iraqi airspace for the strike, saying he didn’t want to “speculate.”
Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran over the past several years, and the right-wing coalition government elected earlier this year won largely on a platform of taking an even more hawkish position toward Iran than previous administraitons had.
At issue is Iran’s civilian nuclear program, which despite a lack of evidence Israel claims is being used to construct a nuclear weapon in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel is itself not a signatory of the NPT, and has a large, undeclared nuclear arsenal.
US defense officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have warned that a military attack on Iran, whether by the US or Israel, would be blamed on the US and would create a “disastrous backlash.”
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