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Biden Warns Israel Not to Attack Iran

By Rick Pedraza   |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2009 01:15 PM

Vice President Joe Biden issued a high-level warning to the Israeli government, saying it would be "ill-advised" to carry out a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites.

Biden said during an interview Tuesday with CNN that the level of his concern is no different than it was a year ago. Despite reports that Israel may be gearing up for a unilateral strike, Biden stressed that an attack on Iran is unlikely.

"I don't believe Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu would do that,” Biden told CNN. “I think he would be ill-advised to do that."

But many U.S. officials believe Israel is serious, noting that Netanyahu said several times during his election campaign that he would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.

“And this implies everything necessary to carry this out," Netanyahu told the Los Angeles Times before his election.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told senators last month that the Israeli government may be "so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it.”

Netanyahu has reiterated in recent days that the Iranian nuclear issue is high on the conservative new Israeli government agenda. The newly installed Israeli leader argues it should be a top priority for the White House, tpp, the Jerusalem Post reports.

According to Netanyahu, President Obama has two pressing concerns: “fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.”

During an interview last week with The Atlantic, Netanyahu said “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

"You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said, underscoring the concern he has for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Iran.

“When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying. That is what is happening in Iran."

Biden, who became the highest-ranking official to caution Israel against a striking Iran, also says criticism over the administration’s handling of foreign policy from former Vice President Dick Cheney is “dead wrong."

In an interview with CNN last month, Cheney said Americans are more vulnerable to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil because Obama has dismantled former President George W. Bush's anti-terror policies.

Biden guarantees that the U.S. is safer today and its interests more secure than it has been at any time during the past eight years.

He said the Bush administration left the country “in a weaker posture than we’ve been any time since World War II: less regarded in the world, stretched more thinly than we have ever been in the past, two wars under way, virtually no respect in entire parts of the world.”

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