Blinken to AIPAC: Israel faces ‘no greater danger’ than Iran but diplomacy is the way to go

The Biden administration continues to believe that a diplomatic solution would be the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

By Andrew Bernard, Algemeiner

In an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United states would use all means to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“There is no danger that Israel faces that is greater than the one posed by the Iranian regime,” Blinken said. “That regime routinely threatens to wipe Israel off the map. It continues to provide weapons to terrorists and proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas, who reject Israel’s right to exist.”

Blinken said, however, that the Biden administration continues to believe that a diplomatic solution would be the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but said that if Iran rejects the path of diplomacy that “all options are on the table.” Blinken added that the administration’s “three-pronged approach” of diplomacy, economic pressure, and military deterrence has bipartisan support, and that this year the US and Israel will hold more joint military exercises than ever before.

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Current and former Israeli officials on Thursday reacted negatively to news reports that the United States is considering a new diplomatic push to return to some form of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video saying that Israel would do “whatever it needs to” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, while former Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said a return to the deal would be “a historic mistake and a disaster for generations to come.”

“It is not possible or logical to sign an agreement with a murderous terrorist state whose aim is to destroy Israel and the US,” Danon wrote on Twitter. “Iran’s dangerous nuclear project can only be shut down with crippling sanctions and a credible military threat.”

In his address to AIPAC Monday, Blinken also described efforts to build on the Trump administration’s efforts to achieve peace between Israel and other Arab and Muslim states that culminated in the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states.

“The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Blinken said. “We believe that we can and indeed we must play an integral role in advancing it. Now, there are no illusions that this can be done quickly or easily. But we remain committed to working toward that outcome, including on the trip I’m about to take this week to Jeddah and Riyadh for engagements with our Saudi and Gulf counterparts.”

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Blinken said, however, that normalization between Israel and neighboring Arab states should also further efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and that in order to preserve the “horizon of hope” for such a solution, both sides would need to reject violence and unilateral actions.

“Settlement expansion clearly presents an obstacle to the horizon of hope that we seek,” he said. “Likewise, any move toward annexation of the West Bank de facto or de jure, disruption of the historic status quo at the holy sites, the continuing demolitions of homes and the evictions of families that have lived in those homes for generations damage the prospects for two states.”