'Biden attacks Romney's readiness for war with Iran'

Amid speculation Israel, US out of sync on Iran's nuclear program, US VP condemns Romney's foreign policy, NBC reports.

September 2, 2012 23:55
2 minute read.
US Vice President Joe Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden 311 (R). (photo credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters)


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US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday attacked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for being "ready to go to war" in Syria and Iran, according to NBC News. Biden's comments came amid ongoing speculation that the Obama government and the Netanyahu government were not in sync on the Iranian nuclear program.

"Listen to what he says about foreign policy. You caught some of it in his speech [at the Republican National Convention],"  NBC News quoted Biden as saying in a sweeping condemnation of Romney's foreign policy strategy. "He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home. He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he's ready to go to war in Syria and Iran. He wants to move from cooperation to confrontation with Putin's Russia."

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Biden is only the latest senior US official to speak publicly about the US position on Iran. Last week, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that an Israeli attack could only delay Iran's nuclear program, and he did not "want to be complicit" in an Israeli military action.

Also Sunday, US ambassador Dan Shapiro was forced to issue a denial that there was any crisis between Netanyahu and Obama.

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Speaking to Channel 2, Shapiro said the "narrative in the media" about a diplomatic crisis does not "reflect the very close coordination and very intense work we've done together to address an issue that we perceive the same way, which is the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Asked why the US did not give the Iranians a clear ultimatum – stop the nuclear program "or else" – Shapiro replied: "I think there is no mistaking what the US is prepared to do." Shapiro said that Obama and Netanyahu, as well as their "teams," speak regularly, and that the relationship "at the top" is "just what it needs to be."

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The US envoy denied a Yediot Ahronot report Friday of a heated exchange with Netanyahu over the Iranian issue where "sparks flew" during a recent meeting with visiting US Congressman Mike Rogers.

"That is a very silly story," Shapiro said. "The published account of that meeting did not reflect what actually occurred at the meeting. The conversations were entirely friendly and professional, they always are. I always speak respectfully with the prime minister, just as the prime minister always speaks respectfully with me."

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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