Sep 5, 2022 - World

Biden won't "tie Israel's hands" against Iran, ambassador says

President Biden (L) meets Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

President Biden made clear in his phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid last week that the U.S. “will not tie Israel's hands” and prevent it from acting against Iran, U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said at a press conference in Jerusalem on Monday.

Why it matters: The Israeli government opposes a U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal, and has made clear it will not be bound by a restored deal.

  • After the call last week, a senior Israeli official said it was made clear during the call that whether there is a nuclear deal or not, Israel will protect itself against Iran with no limitations. Now Nides has confirmed it on the record.
  • “President Biden understands Iran’s aggression. He told Prime Minister Lapid in their call last week that the U.S. will never tie Israel’s hands and prevent it from defending itself," Nides said.

What to watch: The U.S. ambassador to Israel stressed that the Biden administration would like a diplomatic solution with Iran but only according to the conditions President Biden laid out.

  • “There are still many gaps that... haven’t been resolved yet," he added.

What’s next: Nides spoke shortly after a meeting with Mossad director David Barnea and a bipartisan congressional delegation.

  • Barnea will travel tonight to Washington for talks on Iran with CIA director Bill Burns, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior State Department and Pentagon officials.
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