Biden on Iran: 'Obama is not bluffing'
March 4th, 2013
12:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Biden on Iran: 'Obama is not bluffing'

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden re-emphasized on Monday the United States' commitment to Israel and forcefully admonished any attempts by Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

"Big nations can't bluff. And presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff and President Barack Obama is not bluffing," Biden said at a gathering in Washington for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The vice president insisted "we are not looking for war" but added "all options, including military force, are on the table."

Biden's remarks also seemed to preview President Barack Obama's trip to Israel next week, his first trip to the Jewish state since he became president. Biden, however, wouldn't go into too much detail about Obama's itinerary, saying he "learned that's it's never a good idea to steal the president's thunder."

"It's never a good idea to say what he's going to say the next day," Biden quipped, possibly a veiled reference to his decision to announce support for same-sex marriage last year, shortly before Obama did so.

Biden pledged not to upstage the president, but added Obama plans to address many of the issues associated with the Arab Spring when he travels to the Middle East.

"I am a little jealous that he gets to be the one to say `This year in Jerusalem.' But I am the Vice President. I am not the president," Biden said, drawing laughs. "When I told him that I am not sure he thought I was serious or not but anyway."

Also on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, announced that Iran was still not cooperating, rendering it difficult for the IAEA to provide "credible assurance" that the country does not possess undeclared nuclear material.

The Islamic Republic still faces sanctions from the United Nations Security Council for violating a U.N. resolution that forbids Iran from enriching uranium. But Iran says since it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it should be able to enrich uranium for peaceful energy needs.

Of the shared commitments between the U.S. and Israel, Biden focused on one in particular.

"We have a shared strategic commitment. Let me make clear what that commitment is. It is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. Period. End of discussion. Period. Prevent not contain. Prevent," he said.

Recalling stories from his childhood, Biden said he learned at the dinner table from his "righteous Christian" father that the nation of Israel deserved its own statehood and sovereignty. Any threats to their survival, he added, would be met with the United States' "deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel."

"That (commitment) has not changed. That will not change as long as I and he are president and vice president of the United States," he said.

"We especially understand that if we make a mistake it's not a threat to our existence," Biden said. "But if Israel makes a mistake, it could be a threat to its very existence."

The main objective, he reiterated, is to obtain peace through diplomatic means. He said the U.S. is in "constant dialogue" and sharing information with Israeli military, intelligence and political establishment.

"If God forbid the need to act occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power…to avoid any confrontation," he said. "Because God forbid if we have to act, it is important that the rest of the world is with us."

- CNN's Mark Morgenstein contributed to this report.

Filed under: Iran • Joe Biden
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Dean

    I wonder if bluffing is the same thing as lying.

    March 4, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Jeannine

    Well, now Biden has pretty much stated we will go to war with Iran. War mongers rattling their sabres to get us into another war. So where is the outrage from the left about this? Or this just another Biden gaffe?

    March 4, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Tommy G

    'Obama is not bluffing'

    I cannot believe Biden is saying something like this after weeks of Obama's bluffing and scare tactics over the Obama Sequester.

    March 4, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. v_mag

    AIPAC has a choke hold on any politician running for national office. Not one of them will acknowledge the fact that Israel is the main reason we have problems with Muslim countries around the world. Israel has apartheid, which we didn't condone in South Africa, but we turn a blind eye when Israel mistreats its Arab citizens. Israel takes billions in aid from us every year and spies on us constantly.

    Israel is not the friend of the U.S. It is a country built on land stolen from the Palestinians and constant threats to its neighbors, backed up by U.S. force. Israel drags us into wars with people we have no reason to fight. Israel uses the horrors suffered by Jewish people to mask the horrors it perpetrates on non-Jews.

    March 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    "Big nations can't bluff. And presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff and President Barack Obama is not bluffing,"
    And he has a big stick too... right, Joe?

    March 4, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Canuck

    Anyone else find America's obsession with Israel kinda creepy?

    March 4, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Donna

    Good thing our military hasn't been decimated by Democrat cuts.... oh wait! It HAS been decimated!!!

    Hey Joe, might want to check the sabre at the door.

    March 4, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Justin

    How many nukes do Israel and the U.S. have again?

    March 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. critical thinking

    The man has no balls. Mark these words, we will be told that because of cuts in the budget we were not able to stay on top of the Iranians and they were able to complete their goal of attaining a nuclear weapon.

    March 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Tracy

    No, Obama's isn't bluffing. He's decided bluffing isn't good enough so now it's time for the 'pretty please'.

    March 4, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair


    How many nukes do Israel and the U.S. have again?
    They have something far more important... and that's the sanity to not use them. Iran's past actions and belicose rhetoric leaves there intentions up for conjecture. Oh who am I kidding... Iran would use them in a heartbeat.

    March 4, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Moose

    Biden, what an idiot.

    March 4, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. fedup

    Why don`t we just kick back and watch them duke it out then let allah pick and chose. Here we go again sticking our noises in somebody else`s fight. The part where Iran has nuclear capabilities seems a little far fetched. If so, some nation has to be supplying them with means so cut them off financial

    March 4, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. 2020

    Where do you guys come from? Mars?

    it has been US policy, regardless republican or democrat, supports nuclear free Mid east, and unconditional support for Israel, not becauase what they do or don't do, who they are. God is on their side, always.

    March 4, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Nick

    Seriously, Joe? Obama has been bluffing his whole life. Look at what he did with the sequester – he bluffed for weeks trying to scare people into thinking the sky was falling and only backed off when he realized no one was biting. The guy is just one big bluff.

    March 4, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Ferret out the BS

    If Iran is truly interested in only civilian application of Nuclear Energy then why put their populace through punishing sanctions. Iran has something to hide and just because they signed a Non-proliferation doesn't mean they'll abide by it. They're goal is to rule the Arab world and the west if they could, regain what once was Persia.

    March 4, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. just sayin

    obama and biden.... war mongering. sabre rattling. i'm sure they will find a way to blame it on george bush and the republicans when they attack iran. nothing is ever their fault, their doing. hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic.

    March 4, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. brutus9448

    I'm sure Obama wants another war in the middle east this one 20x larger and costlier than the last 2. Another war so Israel can keep it's nuclear hegemony in middle east. Israel is like a spoiled child that needs a timeout.

    March 4, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Manie.

    the arrogance of both nations is quite astonishing. there is always talk talk talk of blowing another country up. enough, talk if the U.S government want to do then do it. and for Iran. its simple all they have to do is withdraw form the NPT and do as they wish with thier nuclear technology, but no.... they want to be like all the other 197 or so countires that subscrib to the so called U.N body that basically becoming illegitimate by the day.... people talk is cheap and U.S is not not ready for another war. hell when was the last war they won handidly since world war II? ..... none. 12 years in Afghanistan and what do they have to show for.... I gues the saying is true Afghanistan is the grave yard of empires...

    March 4, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Daswilz

    America or no America...God will watch over His people..Iran cnt do anytin to Isreal.

    March 4, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Ancient Texan

    Canuck- Israel is the ONLY ally we have in the mid east, but we sure have a lot of countries that hate and want us destroyed along with Israel.

    March 4, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. v_mag

    N. Korea has nuclear weapons already. They are testing missiles to deliver those weapons to S. Korea and Japan, two very close American allies. No one speaks seriously of going to war with N. Korea.

    However, the threat that Iran MAY SOMEDAY have a nuke sends America to the cupboard for another sabre to rattle. We panic when it comes to little Israel not because it is intrinsically more important than Japan and S. Korea, but because every American politician is bought and paid for by Israel through AIPAC. And of course, because all the U.S. Christers believe Israel always has God on its side.

    The press should intensively investigate AIPAC and force America to face the fact that our foreign policy is dictated by a foreign power, and that our soldiers are in jeopardy due to the undue influence of Israel. AIPAC needs to be prosecuted out of existence.

    March 4, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. rad666

    Obama wants his own war. Not left over wars.

    March 4, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. v_mag

    N. Korea has nukes, and they are testing missiles that could hit S. Korea and Japan. Do we threaten war? No.

    But Israel may someday be threatened by Iranian nukes. Not soon, but maybe someday. Politicians panic because it is Israel, and AIPAC rules in America. Time for America to call AIPAC what it is and tell Israel where to go.

    March 4, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Abbey

    Iran should understand that Mr. Obama can sign an executive order and just like that..........pffftt gone!

    March 4, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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