In a landmark visit to Tel Aviv, US Vice President Joe Biden will remind Israeli officials that the hefty military aid they receive from Washington should ease their worries about Iran’s nuclear work.
Biden, who is slated to arrive on Monday, is expected to warn his hosts against an attack on Iranian nuclear sites, particularly now that world powers are trying to pursue fresh sanctions against Tehran.
In a Monday interview with a leading Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Biden assured Tel Aviv it will always have the backing of the US government in the event of a military confrontation with Iran.
“I can promise the Israeli people that we will confront, as allies, any security challenge it will face. A nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a threat not only to Israel — it would also constitute a threat to the United States.”
Pointing to the huge US military aid granted to Tel Aviv each year, Biden said Washington has always sought to ensure that Israel remains the top military power in the Middle East.
This, according to Biden, should somehow put Tel Aviv’s mind at ease with regards to Iran’s nuclear program and eliminate the need for a military attack against the country.
“The Obama administration gives Israel annual military aid worth USD 3 billion,” said Biden. “We revived defense consultations between the two countries, doubled our efforts to ensure Israel preserves its qualitative military edge in the region, expanded our joint exercises and cooperation on missile-defense systems.”
Biden hoped that Washington-led efforts to apply pressure on Iran, along with unilateral sanctions imposed by the US Treasury will be enough to subvert Iran’s nuclear plans.
Israel, which is reported to have the region’s sole atomic arsenal, has a long-standing tendency to take out suspected nuclear sites.
In 1981, Tel Aviv bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor and launched a similar attack on what it suspected to be an undercover nuclear program in Syria — a claim Damascus strongly rejects.
This has led observers to believe that the Israeli regime will act along the same vein with Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran, unlike Israel, is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has opened its enrichment facilities to UN inspection.
Following numerous unannounced visit by UN inspector to Iranian nuclear sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency continues to confirm non-diversion nuclear materials in Iran.
Regardless, however, the United States and Israel allege that Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program — a claim Iran views as “unfounded and baseless.”
Tehran says its nuclear program is solely aimed at the civilian application of the technology.