US Vice President Joe Biden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- US Vice President Joe Biden pushed back against Iran's demands for a final deal over its nuclear program on Thursday, demanding access to its military sites, sanctions relief phased over time and a "clear" snapback mechanism at the United Nations should Tehran violate the deal.
Only two weeks ago, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei rejected those terms as red lines for Iran, in talks over its nuclear work.
Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Biden expressed support for an emerging final Iranian nuclear deal
, saying the initiative in the works would provided "a historic opportunity to forge an enduring peaceful solution."
Under a nuclear deal Iran's path to plutonium enrichment would be closed "forever," Biden claimed, adding that Iran is capable at the moment of constructing eight nuclear weapons.
"We put together not only the toughest sanctions regime in history, but one of the most broad-based," Biden said.
The US vice president added that a comprehensive deal currently being negotiated "radically" alters the timeline on Iran's ability to achieve nuclear weapons capabilities.
However, Biden also noted that the possibility of military action against Iran remained an option and that US President Barack Obama was willing to walk away from the process.
Biden also stressed that Washington was increasing cooperation with Israel amid efforts between six world powers and Iran to forge a comprehensive deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
"As we pursue this deal, we’re also deepening our cooperation with Israel and our other regional partners," he asserted.
Attempting to downplay criticism of Obama over his concern for Israel's security in light of the nuclear process, Biden said Obama had a "spine of steel," adding that he has done more for Israel's security than any other US president.
"Let’s get something straight: No president has done more for the security of Israel than Barack Obama. That’s not going to change," he underlined.