Joe Biden says he would use force to keep Iran from nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden said he would use force as a last resort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as he began a trip to the Middle East.

Speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 TV that was recorded before he left Washington on Tuesday (July 12) but aired on Wednesday, Mr Biden said he would keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the US Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO) list even if that killed off the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Asked if his past statements that he would prevent Teheran from obtaining a nuclear weapon meant he would use force against Iran, Mr Biden replied: “If that was the last resort, yes.”

Iran denies it seeks nuclear weapons, saying that its nuclear programme is for solely peaceful purposes.

Teheran struck a with six major powers in 2015 under which it limited its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain a weapon in return for relief from economic sanctions.

US President Donald Trump reneged on the in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, prompting Teheran to start violating the agreement’s nuclear limits about a year later.

Efforts to resurrect the so far failed, with a senior US official telling Reuters that chances of its revival were lower after indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Doha two weeks ago.

Negotiators appeared close to a new in March, but talks broke down largely because of US refusal of Teheran’s demand that Washington remove the IRGC from the terrorism list, arguing this was outside the scope of reviving the pact.

Asked if he was committed to keeping the IRGC on the FTO list even if that killed the deal, Mr Biden replied: “Yes.”

The IRGC, a powerful political faction in Iran, controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of a global terrorist campaign.

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