Biden: Israel won't attack Iran before sanctions allowed to work
U.S. Vice President: Everyone agrees on sanctions; Jim Jones: Mideast peace failures strengthen Iran.
U.S. Vice President tells ABC's 'The View' that 'everyone agrees the next step against Iran should be the sanctions route.'
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday he expects new United Nations sanctions on Iran by late April or early May and dismissed the notion that Israel might attack the Islamic Republic before first allowing sanctions to take their course.
Biden issued the latest U.S. warning to Iran, which is locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program, in an appearance on ABC television's "The View" talk show.
"Everyone from the Israeli prime minister straight through to the British prime minister to the president of Russia, everyone agrees the next step we should take is the UN sanction route," Biden said.
"I believe you will see a sanction regime coming out by the end of this month, beginning of next month," he said.
Asked whether Washington was concerned that Israel might attack its arch-foe Iran without U.S. consultation, Biden said, "They're not going to do that." He said Israel had agreed to await the outcome of tightened sanctions against Iran, an effort being led by U.S. President Barack Obama.
"They've agreed the next step is the step we - the president of the United States - have initiated in conjunction with European powers, the NATO powers," he said.
Israel, the only assumed nuclear weapons power in the Middle East, has made clear it is keeping open the military option against Iran even as Washington proceeds on the dual diplomatic and sanctions track.
Biden reiterated the administration's view that China, one of five veto-holding members of the UN Security Council, would support new sanctions on Iran. Beijing has softened its resistance to new measures but has been reluctant to accept punitive steps as severe as Washington wants.
"We're going to continue to keep the pressure on Iran," Biden said. The West accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says it only wants peaceful civilian nuclear power.
U.S.: Israel-Palestinian peace failures strengthening Iran
On Wednesday, the Obama administration said that progress toward Middle East peace would help thwart Iran's ambitions by preventing it from "cynically" using the conflict to divert attention from its nuclear program.
Drawing an explicit link between Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and Washington's drive to isolate Iran, Obama's national security adviser, Jim Jones, urged bold steps to revive long-stalled Middle East negotiations.
U.S. officials hope that shared Arab-Israeli concerns about Iran can be exploited to spur old foes to help advance Israeli-Palestinian peace and restrain Tehran's nuclear activities and rising influence in the region.
Jones coupled an appeal to Israel and its Arab neighbors to take risks for peace with a warning to Iran that it would face "real consequences" for its nuclear defiance. Obama is leading a push to tighten UN sanctions on Tehran.
"One of the ways that Iran exerts influence in the Middle East is by exploiting the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict," Jones told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"Advancing this peace would ... help prevent Iran from cynically shifting attention away from its failures to meet its obligations," he said.
The Israeli government, locked in a dispute with the United States over Jewish settlement policy, has made clear it sees confronting Iran as more of a security priority for Washington, and Middle East peace should be handled on a separate track.
Jones - while voicing disappointment over the failure to jumpstart U.S.-sponsored indirect peace talks - insisted progress toward peace is a U.S. interest as well.
That seemed to echo Obama's assertion last week that a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict was "a vital national security interest", adding to speculation that he was considering his own broad peace proposal.