— -- Vice President Joe Biden warned Tuesday that the window of opportunity for peacefully resolving the standoff over Iran's nuclear program was closing "in the near term."
Speaking in Atlanta to the Rabbinical Assembly's annual convention, Biden pointedly said Washington could not stop potential military action by Israel and predicted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be "gone" in two years.
"I'm proud of our record. I believe that no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel's physical security than Barack Obama," Biden said in a speech that heavily focused on Iran's nuclear program. "We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by whatever means we need."
The United States charges that Tehran's nuclear program masks an attempt to develop the ability to build atomic weapons. The Islamic republic denies the charge, but has defied international demands to halt its uranium enrichment, which can be a key step toward building a bomb. Israel has warned it would regard a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and has reserved the right to use military force preemptively.
On that score, Biden recalled telling Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, "Were I an Israeli … I would not contract out my security to anybody, even a loyal, loyal, loyal friend like the United States."
Biden went on to say: