Biden went on to justify the continued efforts by the U.S. and its partners in the six-party talks to reach a deal with Iran. Israeli leaders have long argued that Iran is not interested in a compromise and is merely biding its time while it continues to enrich uranium for a potential weapon.
Speaking via satellite after Biden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told AIPAC that “words alone will not stop Iran” and called on sanctions to be coupled with a “clear and credible military threat.”
But in his address, Biden said diplomatic efforts needed more time.
“Our strong preference – the world's preference – is for a diplomatic solution. So while that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space to achieve the outcome,” Biden said. “God forbid the need to act occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power – we did everything that reasonably could have been expected – to avert [war]. That matters.”
Biden's comments come after a difficult fight to win Chuck Hagel's confirmation as Defense secretary. Hagel's views on Israel came under scrutiny in that Senate fight, and raised new questions about Obama's commitment to Israel.
Obama will make his first visit to Israel as president later this month.
For more on Biden's comments, click here.