Biden says he would use military as a "last resort" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
WASHINGTON, July 13 (News Wires) - As he launched a tour to the Middle East, US President Joe Biden said he would use force only as a last resort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Biden said in an interview with Israel's Channel 12 TV, which was taped before he left Washington on Tuesday but aired on Wednesday, that he would keep Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) even if it meant killing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
When asked if his previous assertions that he would use force to prevent Tehran from gaining a nuclear weapon meant he would use force against Iran, Biden said, "If that was the last resort, yeah."
Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and claims that its nuclear program is only for peaceful reasons.
In 2015, Tehran reached an agreement with six major powers under which it curtailed its nuclear program to make it more difficult to obtain a weapon in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
In 2018, US President Donald Trump backtracked on the accord and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, forcing Tehran to begin breaking the agreement's nuclear limitations a year later.
Efforts to restore the deal have so far failed, with a senior US source telling Reuters that the odds of its resuscitation had decreased following indirect negotiations between the US and Iran in Doha two weeks ago.
Negotiators appeared to be close to a fresh agreement in March, but negotiations fell down partly due to the United States' refusal to accept Tehran's demand that the IRGC be removed from the terrorist list, insisting that this was outside the scope of restarting the treaty.
When asked if he was willing to keep the IRGC on the FTO list even if it meant killing the deal, Biden said, "Yes."
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a major political movement in Iran, oversees an economic empire as well as elite armed and intelligence capabilities that Washington accuses of waging a global terrorist operation.