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US and Israel Pledge to Deny Nukes to Iran

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The leaders of the United States and Israel signed a pledge on Thursday to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Although they have had previous disputes over diplomatic efforts with Iran, the agreement presented a unified front for the two longtime allies.

The agreement was inked by U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid at a brief signing ceremony in Jerusalem. It is Biden’s first visit to the Middle East since becoming president.

At the press conference following the signing, Lapid talked about the Iran threat. “The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force.” 

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While speaking, Biden confirmed America’s commitment to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon. “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome,” said Biden.

The U.S. president also said he will continue to support Israel’s “ability to defend itself by itself” against enemy regional powers. 

Biden is pushing for a return to talks, but Iran has yet to accept. During the press conference, Biden said “we are not going to wait forever” for Iran to agree to negotiations.

One day earlier, Biden said he’d be willing to use force against Iran as a last resort, if necessary.

In 2015, Iran signed a nuclear deal to limit its nuclear weapons development program. However, in 2018, then-President Donald Trump ended the deal, saying it wasn’t tough enough to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons. 

The latest agreement and press conference came one day after Biden faced criticism upon first arriving in Israel. The president rejected handshake offers from Israeli officials, instead giving fist bumps.

While delivering an earlier speech, Biden mistakenly referred to the “honor” of the Holocaust, before fixing his wording to “horror.”

Biden is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday.

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