At the eleventh hour, American lawmakers have managed to dodge a government shutdown with the passage of a temporary spending bill. While the immediate crisis has been averted
The high watermark of President Joe Biden’s first visit to Israel as the American Head of State must be that he and the Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, have iterated their respective positions on nuclear proliferation in a joint declaration that aims at preventing the government in Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The two leaders inked the statement after holding a one-on-one meeting in Jerusalem on Thursday, followed by a virtual summit with leaders of India and the United Arab Emirates. The statement says that the United States of America will use “all elements of national power” available to it to deny Iran the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons. The joint declaration also highlights a pledge by Washington to continue US military aid to Israel. A record 10-year $38 billion aid package had been concluded in 2016 when Barack Obama was the US President and Biden the VicePresident.
On Thursday, in the immediate aftermath of the agreement, Biden and Lapid mentioned their support for the US-Israeli relationship, not to forget the perceived threat from Iran. “The only way to stop a nuclear Iran is if Iran realizes that the free world will use force,” Mr Lapid said. The US President said that he believed diplomacy was the best way to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons, but iterated that what he said was a “guarantee” to provide security for Israel. On closer reflection, Thursday’s declaration is relatively symbolic, verily a reffirmation of the opposition of the United States and Israel to Iran’s nuclear ambition. Talks between Tehran and the Western powers to restore a 2015 nuclear deal have not progressed for months, with Tehran and Washington blaming each other for the stalemate.
Confusion was worse confounded when Donald Trump withdrew from the deal. After the meeting between Biden and Lapid, the Israeli Prime Minister let it be known that the two leaders had discussed the “Iranian threat”. It is pretty obvious that in the trilateral equation between the United States, Israel, and Iran, the regime in Tehran has been reduced to a state of unsplendid isolation. “There will be no nuclear Iran,” said Lapid emphatically. Intrinsically, this is nothing new but a reaffirmation of the commitment of the two countries towards Israel’s security. Furthermore, both Israel and the United States will “work to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon”. The Iranians insist that their nuclear programme is peaceful and that the theocratic country has no intention of producing a nuclear bomb. Israel is generally believed to have its own nuclear weapons but has never publicly confirmed the acquisition.