July 6 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Joe Biden asserted Israel’s “sovereign right” to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and reiterated a U.S. offer to meet with the Tehran government over its suspected weapons program.
Israel “can determine for itself as a sovereign nation what is in its best interest,” Biden said in an interview with the ABC News program “This Week,” that was taped July 4 and aired yesterday. A U.S. offer to meet with Iran about its nuclear program remains “on the table,” Biden said.
If Iranian leaders “seek to engage, we will engage” in talks, Biden said. If Iran responds by isolating itself, the U.S. has no standing to prevent Israel from taking action, he said.
“Israel can determine for itself as a sovereign nation what is in its best interest,” Biden said. “If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.”
A senior Iranian parliamentary official warned of “real and decisive” action if Israel launches a strike on its nuclear facilities, the Associated Press reported.
Alaeddin Broujerdi, the head of Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told reporters in Tokyo today that both the U.S. and Israel are “aware of the consequence” of such action, the AP reported.
Obama said Iran’s crackdown on opposition leaders wouldn’t prevent the U.S. from seeking direct negotiations with the Iranian regime, the New York Times reported on its Web site late yesterday.
In an interview with the newspaper before his departure yesterday for Moscow, Obama said the U.S. had “grave concerns” about the arrests and intimidation of opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At the same time, the door remains open for talks, he said.
“We’ve got some fixed national security interests in Iran not developing nuclear weapons, in not exporting terrorism, and we have offered a pathway for Iran to rejoining the international community,” Obama was cited as saying.
Obama said after his May 18 meeting with Netanyahu that “we should have a fairly good sense by the end of the year” about the status of negotiations with Iran.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said separately that a military strike by any nation against Iran would be “destabilizing.” He also said a nuclear-armed Iran and military action against that country both “are really, really bad options.”
Iran has defied three sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions demanding a halt to the enrichment of uranium, a key bomb-making ingredient. Iran denies western suspicions that it is pursuing a weapons capability, saying it wants to build power plants.
Iran has stepped up the pace of uranium production and continued to block attempts by international monitors to probe whether it’s secretly developing weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency said June 5.
(*UPDATE by WrathofG-d) Israeli FM Praises Biden on Iran Comments
(notice the labeling of Lieberman however – “hardline”, “hawk”, “measured”, “radical”, “beat the drum”…)