US president Joe Biden assured his outgoing Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, that he would not tolerate a nuclear Iran as the two met on Monday.
The meeting came amid growing apprehension regarding the Biden administration’s efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal.
“What I can say to you is that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch”, Biden said.
“Things are still far from decided”, he continued. The multilateral nuclear deal, agreed in 2015 under Barack Obama, was dealt a major blow when the Trump administration withdrew from it in 2018.
Biden also said that he hoped to meet Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, “very soon”.
Biden also reasserted his commitment to Israel more generally. “My commitment to Israel is… ironclad”, he said.
“It’s something that I often say, ‘If there wasn’t an Israel, we’d have to make one.’ This includes… an unwavering commitment to Israel’s self-defence.”
Rivlin also met the Emirati ambassador in Washington, in which he personally thanked Yousef al-Otaiba for the significant role he played in bringing the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE to fruition last summer.
Other recent US-Israeli bilateral meetings include US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s meeting with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid in Rome last weekend, and a meeting last week between IDF chief of staff Aviv Kohavi and Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan.