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Biden pledges to prevent Iranian nuke 'by whatever means necessary'

May 08, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Black History Month reception at the vice president's residence on the Naval Observatory grounds in Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Black History Month reception… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

Vice President Joe Biden, seeking to reaffirm the White House’s support for Israel and, in turn, its tough stance on Iran’s alleged efforts to gain nuclear weapons, promised economic sanctions would have an effect on the Iranian regime and predicted the current leadership's fall within two years.

"The U.S. policy under Barack Obama is not one of containment. It is straightforward. We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuke by whatever means necessary, period," Biden said during his appearance at the 1,600 rabbi-strong international Rabbinical Assembly Convention in Atlanta.

Combating criticism that the Obama administration has lessened the United States' typically staunch support of Israel, Biden told the audience: "At every point in our administration, at every juncture, we have stood up for the legitimacy of the state of Israel."

Biden, citing Iran's internal struggles among factions within the country's leadership structure as well as grass-roots dissent against the government, prophesied a country without current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"The dissension between Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader is palpable. They will not both be around two years from now, and my bet is that Ahmadinejad is gone," he said.

Current sanctions from the U.S. and European Union on Iran's central bank and energy industry have already had an effect on the country and, in particular, the value of its currency, as reported earlier by The Times. And Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton used a trip to India this week to pressure that government to cease imports of Iranian oil.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign was unimpressed by Biden's hard stance on Iran, quickly releasing a statement focusing on the vice president's comments that "when we took office ... there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem."

"All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden's reckless statement today blaming America for, of all things, the progress of Iran's nuclear weapons program has reached a new low," Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said.

But Biden said he is confident that history will look kindly on the actions taken by the Obama administration, regardless of its detractors.

"I'm proud of our record," he said. "No president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel's physical security than Barack Obama."

morgan.little@latimes.com

Original source: Biden pledges to prevent Iranian nuke 'by whatever means necessary'

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