President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday signed a joint declaration in Jerusalem on Thursday that included strong language against Iran.
The document, officially called the Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration, says the US would use all of its “national power” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
“The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome,” the declaration reads.
Despite claims from the US and Israel, there’s no indication that Iran has decided to develop a nuclear bomb as all of its stockpiled uranium is not enriched at the level needed for weapons-grade. Iran appears to be making a serious effort to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, which would subject its nuclear program to strict limits and the most intrusive inspections in the world.
Iran is also a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program. Last year, Biden renewed an agreement with Israel on its secret nuclear weapons program. Every US president since Nixon has agreed not to press Israel to sign the NPT, and in return, Israel agrees not to declare its nuclear arsenal and operates the program covertly.
After signing the declaration on Thursday, Lapid told Biden that diplomacy wasn’t enough to stop Iran from developing a bomb. “Diplomacy will not stop them. The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force. The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table,” Lapid said.
Biden said that he believes diplomacy was the best way forward, but he has taken a hard line on the negotiations to revive the JCPOA. The day before, Biden said that he was willing to kill the deal entirely to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps designated as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
The declaration Biden and Lapid signed also reaffirmed US support for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that gives Israel $3.8 billion in military aid each year, which was signed in 2016. The MOU lasts through 2028, and the declaration expressed support for a follow-on MOU.