Biden says Obama "not bluffing" on Iran nuclear threat
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told America's most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group on Monday that President Barack Obama is "not bluffing" on his promise to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
"The president of the United States cannot and does not bluff. President Barack Obama is not bluffing," Biden said at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"We're not looking for war. We're ready to negotiate peacefully. But all options including military force are on the table," he noted in the speech.
"While that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space," Biden told a large crowd of audience at the Washington Convention Center. "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."
Tensions between Iran and the West on Tehran's disputed nuclear program are still running high. Obama has repeatedly said that Washington will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon and all options, including a military one, are on the table.
The AIPAC annual policy conference came days after the two-day nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany, concluded on Wednesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan. World powers attending the talks said the meeting had produced positive results.
Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili expressed optimism Wednesday about the outcome of the nuclear talks, saying that the attitude of the world powers toward Iran's nuclear issue was "more realistic".
The U.S. government welcomed Iran's interest in the proposal presented by world powers at the talks in Kazakhstan. However, Washington insisted that Tehran take "concrete steps" to address international concerns and comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.
Iran and the world powers agreed to hold an expert-level meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on March 17 and 18, and another high- ranking meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 5 and 6.