WASHINGTON (JTA) – Vice President Joe Biden said the United States was willing to go to war to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. War was “unpredictable,” Biden said on April 30 in an address to the 30th anniversary dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, but “if required, it will happen. It is a risk that we may yet have to take should Iran rush to a bomb.”
Biden’s warning was the bluntest ever threat from any administration of war against Iran should it pursue a nuclear weapon. “The finest military in history remains at the ready,” Biden said. “Don’t underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel and he is willing to do what it takes to keep our allies safe.”
He referred to the deployment of U.S. Navy warships to escort U.S.-flagged vessels in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Iran’s seizure of a cargo ship this week. “We’re prepared to use the force,” Biden said. He reiterated pledges he made a week ago in a speech to the Israeli Embassy’s Independence Day party, saying the Obama administration would not sign a deal that ended sanctions up front and that did not allow for intrusive measures that would extend Iran’s breakout period from three months, where the Obama administration believes it now stands, to a year. Iran’s leaders have insisted that sanctions would go almost immediately. Biden added a new pledge: A deal would require Iran to reveal its past nuclear weapons research. Iran’s leaders have rejected such a formula.