Joe Biden went on "This Week," George Stephanopoulos's show Sunday, and said Israel has a "sovereign right" to go after Iran. JTA saw Biden's comments as giving a "green light" to Israel. So did Haaretz.
When asked whether the Obama administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran, Biden responded:
"Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else."
Stephanopoulos posed the question three times, and each time Biden repeated that Israel was free to choose its actions. "If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice."
Today Obama said that the U.S. is "absolutely not" giving Israel a green light. Yesterday the White House said that Biden's comments don't represent a shift in policy, though Laura Rozen says they could "increase the uncertainty in Tehran."
Though here is Biden's line in the LA Times in April: "Biden warns Israel off any attack on Iran:"
In the interview, Biden was asked whether he was concerned that Netanyahu might strike Iranian nuclear facilities. "I don't believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he
would be ill advised to do that," Biden said.
Writes Mohammad of Vancouver:
Is it clear now... why the west fell in love with Iran and put it in the news in June? To make Iran look bad so Israel can up the threats. Here comes the real voice of Obama administration? Why is he speaking again? Threats must stop. Negotiations must begin.