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Joe Biden hosts Israel’s president and vows ‘Iran will never get’ nuke

President Joe Biden (right) hosted Israeli outgoing President Reuven Rivlin (inset left) on Monday afternoon in the Oval Office (Pictures: Getty Images/AP)

President Joe Biden welcomed Israel’s outgoing President Reuven Rivlin on Monday as the US looks at possibly restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The presidents met in the Oval Office around the same time that multiple rockets struck a US military base in Syria – potentially from Iranian-backed militias.

In his meeting with Rivlin, Biden vowed to not allow Iran to get ahold of nukes.

‘What I can say to you Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch as they say,’ Biden told the Israeli president.

Biden added that the US’s commitment to Israel’s security is ‘ironclad’.

‘We’re committed to – unwavering commitment to your self defense,’ Biden said. ‘It’s real. It’s something that I often say: If there weren’t an Israel we’d have to invent one.’

The meeting occurred amid negotiations to bring the US and Iran back into an international nuclear accord that would loosen sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limiting its nuclear arms program. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday met with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid, who conveyed that Israel had ‘serious reservations’ around the accord.

Also on Sunday, Biden ordered airstrikes in Iraq and Syrian on two Iranian-backed militias responsible for recent drone attacks on US military facilities in Iraq.

Biden and Rivlin met as multiple rockets hit a US base in Syria that a US defense official told CNN were ‘likely’ from Iranian-backed militias.

Col Wayne Morotto, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, tweeted that the attack at 7.44pm local time resulted in ‘no injuries and damage is being assessed’. The US forces ‘acted in self-defense and conducted counter-battery artillery fire at rocket launching positions’, Marotto added.

Biden told Rivlin that ‘the US fully supports normalization of the relationship between Israel and Middle Eastern countries that you’re making some headway on’.

‘And beyond the important progress, we are really looking forward to building back a wider block of peace and stability,’ Biden continued.

It was likely Rivlin’s last visit to the White House, as Israel earlier in June elected former Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog as its next president.

‘I have only one regret. You’re leaving as president,’ Biden told Rivlin. ‘But not me – not soon.’

However, Biden earlier this month issued a statement congratulating Herzog.

‘President-elect Herzog has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to strengthening Israel’s security, advancing dialogue and building bridges across the global Jewish community,’ Biden stated. ‘I am confident that under his presidency, the partnership between Israel and the United States will continue to grow and deepen.’

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