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Israel and the United States signed a joint pledge Thursday to deny Iran nuclear weapons, a move that comes as President Joe Biden visits the Middle East in an effort to boost ties with allies in the region, Reuters reported.
The “Jerusalem Declaration” – signed by Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid – is a show of unity among the two allies who have long been divided over diplomacy with Iran.
The two leaders proclaimed that Iran will never get nuclear weapons, adding that the US is ready “to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” The declaration also further committed the traditional allies to cooperate on defense projects, such as laser interceptors.
During the visit, Biden also reiterated the US’ “iron-clad commitment” to Israel’s security.
Iran did not comment on the declaration.
The recent pledge comes as both Iran, the US and world powers are working to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that put a cap on Tehran’s nuclear projects with bomb-making potential in return for ending international sanctions.
The Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018, saying the pact was insufficient. It reimposed sanctions. Since then, Iran has increased some of its nuclear capabilities and has rejected proposals for a new deal with tougher provisions.
Observers noted that the declaration in Israel could provide a boost for Biden as he visits Saudi Arabia on Friday, a trip that has been condemned by many in the US and elsewhere because of Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and its involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Still, the kingdom has its own concerns about Iran, which Biden aims to channel into a Saudi-Israeli rapprochement under US auspices.
Even so, some Israeli and Gulf Arab officials believe that sanctions relief from the nuclear deal will give Iran significantly more money to sustain proxy troops in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. They are also wary of the Biden administration’s ability to confront Iran’s regional actions.