Biden on Iran: 'Obama is not bluffing'
March 4th, 2013
12:12 PM ET
10 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).

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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. Mike

    How's it coming along on "preventing" North Korea from getting nukes?

    The US does not bluff... Give me a break.

    March 4, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    "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"
    Far-fetched? They have thousands of centrifuges spinning. They've admitted to enriching uranium to 20%. Enriching to bomb-grade at this point is relativly easy physics. They're using enriched uranium which means they don't have the need to have spohiticated implosion detonation triggers as you would in a plutonium bomb.

    Far-fetched? They're already there.

    March 4, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Tony D

    Not bluffing? Seriously? After telling the world we were cancellin gthe deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the area because of the sequester? The Iranians have to be rolling on the floor laughing their backsides off. They know Obama is nothing but bluster and BS at this point. All this will do is cause Iran to call out the Paper Tiger Obama on his bluff, that is not a bluff, but is a bluff.

    March 4, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Jean

    I hope Chuck Hagel is reading this where Biden says: " 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," (too bad Biden didn't tell Hagel BEFORE his hearings maybe at least on this one point Hagel could have looked competent).

    March 4, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Jean

    Now I hope with Biden being this clear about prevention he or Obama will finally make clear to the nut case AJad that we WILL use military force sooner rather than later if they don't quit jerking us around. We just agreed to more talks next month and we keep giving them the time they need – when will we finally tell them we're out and next step is military unless they stop.

    March 4, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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