Biden made the remarks at a news conference after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid after one-on-one talks during which they discussed Iran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program.
“We have set out for Iran’s leadership what we are willing to accept to return to the JCPOA. We are waiting for their response. When that will come, I’m not sure,” Biden said, using an acronym for the Iran nuclear deal. “But we’re not going to wait forever.”
Reviving the nuclear deal brokered by the Barack Obama administration and abandoned by Donald Trump in 2018 was a top priority for Biden when he took office. But government officials have become increasingly pessimistic about the chances of Iran returning to compliance.
Earlier on Thursday, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Lapid discussed Iran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, after which the Israeli leader vowed “there will be no nuclear Iran.”
The US president, who will travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday, said he also stressed to Lapid the importance of Israel becoming “fully integrated” into the region.
Their one-on-one talks are the focus of a 48-hour visit from Biden aimed at strengthening the already close relationship between the US and Israel. The leaders also issued a joint statement emphasizing military cooperation and a commitment to prevent Iran, which Israel sees as an enemy, from developing a nuclear weapon.
“We discussed the Iranian threat,” Lapid told reporters afterwards. “There will be no nuclear Iran.”
Israeli officials have tried to use Biden’s first visit to the Middle East as president to underline that Iran’s nuclear program has progressed too far and encourage the Biden administration to renew a 2015 deal with Iran. to revive it in order to limit, stop its development.
Reviving the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Barack Obama administration and abandoned by Donald Trump in 2018 was a top priority for Biden when he took office. But government officials have become increasingly pessimistic about Tehran’s chances of getting back to compliant.
In the joint statement, the United States said it is ready to use “all elements of its national power” to prevent Iran from receiving an atomic bomb.
Biden, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 aired Wednesday, gave strong assurances of his determination to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, saying he would be willing to use force as a “last resort” if necessary.
Iran announced last week that it has enriched uranium to 60% purity, a technical step away from weapons grade.
The joint statement announced on Thursday could be of great symbolic importance to Biden’s meeting this weekend with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia as he seeks to strengthen a regional alliance against Iran.
“I talked about how important it was… that Israel be fully integrated into the region,” Biden said after the one-on-one meeting with Lapid.