On Monday President Biden hosted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the Oval Office, where he made his first public statements on Sunday night's airstrikes he ordered against "Iran-backed" militias on the Syria-Iraq border. Biden talked up being "tough on Iran" while assuring Rivilin the US won't tolerate Tehran ever obtaining nukes. Biden called the military strikes (the 2nd of his presidency) a "clear message" to Iran.
"What I can say to you is that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch," Biden declared to America's closest Mideast ally. Rivlin responded that he was "very much satisfied" by the US president's statement.
Biden also gave his own somewhat rare input on the current state of Vienna talks, which have appeared stalled of late despite reports that both sides are eager to reach a restored JCPOA nuclear deal before the newly elected Iranian president takes office on August 3rd.
"Things are still far from decided," Biden said of the Vienna talks. This comes after officials in Tehran warned on Saturday that despite positive signs, it "will not negotiate forever".
During his meeting with Rivlin, Biden expressed that he's ready to meet newly installed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett "very soon". Among the first statements Bennett made after narrowly unseating Netanyahu as prime minister was that Israel will do everything possible to prevent the Islamic Republic from ever having a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, also this week the historic "Abraham Accords" brokered under the prior Trump administration continued to play out, with Israel inaugurating its new embassy in the United Arab Emirates.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the inauguration of the new Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi: "This is a historic moment. We are standing here because we chose peace over war.. Israel wants peace with all its neighbors. Israel isn’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home.” pic.twitter.com/9EvB7myQgm— Yonatan Gonen (@GonenYonatan) June 29, 2021
It's the first ever such Israeli diplomatic outpost in a Gulf Arab country, after long not having formal relations with the Gulf states.
Saudi Arabia has been recently rumored to be entertaining the idea of talks with Tel Aviv; however, Riyadh entering such an agreement with Israel appears a much bigger challenge, particularly as it would likely enrage the Saudi domestic population, despite years of quiet covert intelligence cooperation when it comes to waging war in Syria.