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Bennett, Biden Discuss Diplomacy, ‘Other Options,’ to Limit Iran’s Nuclear Program

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett left Washington Sunday morning following his first trip to meet US President Joe Biden face-to-face since taking office in June.

“We achieved all of the goals that we set for the visit and more. We have agreed with the Americans on a joint working strategy to block the Iranian race for nuclear weapons. We took a significant step in equipping and building the Israeli force,” Bennett said prior to his departure.

The two leaders met in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon.

“I fully, fully, fully support replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome [aerial defense] system. And we also are going to discuss the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon,” Biden said in remarks to the press following the meeting. “We’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us,” Biden said, adding, “But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”

Bennett called Iran “the world’s number one exporter of terror, instability, and human rights violations,” and said, “As we sit here right now the Iranians are spinning their centrifuges in Natanz and Fordo. And we got to stop it, and we both agree.”

The two leaders also discussed their countries’ vaccination efforts in the fight against the coronavirus and the inclusion of Israel in the Visa Waiver Program for entry to the US, among other issues.

The meeting was delayed by a day due to the suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan, which killed at least 189 people, including 13 American soldiers. It followed separate meetings the Israeli prime minister had in recent days with the US secretaries of state and defense.