Iran nuclear deal

US President Joe Biden says still committed to restoring Iran nuclear deal

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President Joe Biden says he remains committed to resurrecting the Iran nuclear deal, saying “the only thing worse than the Iran that exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons.”

Biden spoke to Israel’s Channel 12 TV in an interview broadcast shortly after his arrival in the country on Wednesday at the start of a Middle East tour that will also take him to Saudi Arabia.

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Israel was a staunch opponent of the 2015 nuclear deal and welcomed then-President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from it, which led to the deal’s unraveling.

Biden called that decision a “gigantic mistake,” pointing out that Iran had accelerated its nuclear program since the US withdrawal from the agreement.

“They’re closer to a nuclear weapon now than they were before,” he said.

Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, though UN experts and Western intelligence agencies say Iran had an organized military nuclear program through 2003.

The nuclear deal lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on and monitoring of its nuclear activities.

Biden reiterated that the US would not allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapon and said it would use military force as a “last resort.” He declined to comment on any discussions with Israel about using military force against Iran.

Read more: Iran demands ‘strong’ economic guarantees to revive 2015 nuclear deal: Minister

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