US President Joe Biden said Monday in a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that his commitment to Israel is “cast iron” and looks forward to meeting new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett soon.
Biden also said during his first meeting as president with a top Israeli official that Iran would not possess a nuclear weapon during his term in office.
“My commitment to Israel is … rock solid,” Biden told Rivlin at the start of their meeting in the Oval Office. He said the two officials would discuss a range of topics, including Iran.
“What I can tell you is that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon on my watch,” Biden said.
The meeting took place just weeks after Bennett took over as Israel’s new prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. US officials are planning a meeting between Biden and Bennett in the coming weeks.
“He will invite the Prime Minister of Israel in the coming days to find a way to move forward and exchange ideas,” Rivlin said of Biden after their meeting.
The meeting comes amid concerns in Israel and Arab capitals over the US’s efforts to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, fearing that a resumption of the accord will eventually allow Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons allowing them to become vulnerable to Iranian intimidation or military threat.
U.S. efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal after then-President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018 made slow progress, with Tehran insisting that the United States lift all economic sanctions.
A source familiar with the Biden-Rivlin meeting said Biden was expected to tell Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same goal, that Iran should not develop a nuclear weapon, and that Biden would not support US support for Israel’s right of defense. would emphasize. self.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel’s 11-day war with Gaza. The United States has pledged to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which was heavily used during the Gaza conflict.
Rivlin will resign from office on July 7 after a seven-year term, with Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency, taking over as Israeli president.
Rivlin is on his last foreign trip as president. He will meet with United Nations officials in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.