conference call

Nides: Israel’s hands won’t be tied by deal with Iran

The U.S. ambassador to Israel made the comments at a gathering hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said on Sunday that Israel would not be bound by any agreement made between the U.S. and Iran.

“The Israelis have the right to do what they need to do to defend their country. So no one is tying the hands of the Israelis,” Nides said at a gathering hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem.

Nides discussed the Biden administration’s approach to the Iran talks happening in Vienna. “The president is committed to make sure the Iranians do not get a nuclear weapon,” Nides said. “How we work that out, and how we focus on pushing this decision of the 90% enrichment away, if it’s to 2030, if it’s a date later, if it’s the beginning of a longer conversation — details will come if we get to that stage. We are not at that stage.”

“We are lockstep with the Israelis,” Nides added. “There’s nothing we are doing here that they are not aware of. I’m not suggesting they’re supportive of what we’re doing or not doing. But there’s no games here. I think in the last Democratic administration that I was a part of, there was some sense that we weren’t communicating with them and they were surprised.”

The ambassador said the Biden administration had almost immediately developed a warm working relationship with Israel’s coalition government since its formation in April 2021.

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has a beautiful relationship with the president – as does Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. I hope that it continues, especially if I have anything to say about it. This coalition is a beautiful thing – this is what Israel is all about. We should be proud as Jews to see this going on.”

Nides also reiterated that he was in full support of the vision of a two-state solution, while he was under no illusions that a peace agreement would be signed anytime soon. 

“I want to do things for the Palestinian people,” he said. “The Biden administration has and will continue to support them. The average Palestinian needs freedom, security, and educational opportunities. The options are not great if they do not have them. It is clear that many Israelis, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, feel the same way and are trying to help the Palestinian people too.”